In some ways yesterday's session at the Farmacy in West Hollywood was a bit like an Old Home Week for Southern California medical marijuana activists, a community with which I have been in touch only sporadically in the last couple of years. It was pleasant and more than a little exciting.
I brought Marvin Chavez up from Santa Ana. Marvin founded the Orange County Nurse-Patient-Doctor cooperative almost as soon as Prop. 215 passed -- and rather quickly found himself a target of law enforcement. He went to prison because of an excess of compassion (and/or lack of judgment). A would-be patient came to him with a convincing tale of back pain. (Marvin has ankylosing spondylitis, which means his vertebrae are progressively fusing, which gives him terrible pain. The prescription meds he was taking had unfortunate side effects, including making him feel depressed and unmotivated -- he stayed in his room for weeks at a time -- but cannabis relieves the pain without making him feel groggy.) The sympathetic patient who convinced Marvin to give him "just a little to hold me over until tomorrow," though it was too late to call the doctor to verify the recommendation, turned out to be an undercover cop. I covered his trial, which was a sad situation. F0rtunately old news now.
Anyway, Marvin was in a bit of a dither because the doctor who wrote his recommendation died in December and he has to find a new doctor because the rec needs to be renewed. Until he has that squared away he doesn't want to grow in his back yard or revive the OC club. However, seeing how well the Farmacy was doing, and seeing old friends and acquaintances cheered him incredibly and motivated him to work a little harder.
Also saw Bill Britt from Long Beach, and found he is now a court-certified marijuana expert, qualified to testify at trials. He did his first trial last week and was pleased at how smoothly it went. He says Chris Conrad is getting tired of testifying as often as he has been and may recommend Bill for trials in the future.
The Farmacy, which was raided by the feds but has reopened, looks to be extremely well-run, with numerous safeguards. More later.