CALIFORNIA: Somewhere among the skateboarders, weight lifters, street artisans and moms pushing strollers at California’s Venice Beach may be a high concentration of seriously ill Californians seeking alternative pain relief. That’s the impression given by an omnipresent odor and abundance of Oceanfront medical marijuana dispensaries and one-stop “medical consultation” shops on the boardwalk–some outfitted with mini-ATM machines, leaf-shaped signage, and playful sidewalk barkers dressed in green and welcoming passersby.
It has been more than a decade since California became the first state to allow legal medical marijuana sales in the U.S. and, although in conflict with an unmoving federal ban on marijuana sales, the state-by-state trend to legalize it has been on a fast track ever since. On a grass-roots level, the movement has supporters virtually everywhere, and nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia already allow legal medical marijuana consumption. In two of those states–Colorado and Washington–small amounts of “recreational” marijuana is now legal. Residents there will begin to see dispensaries selling pot and pot-infused products, edibles, sweets, and beverages to people over 21. [Read more…]