Monday, April 07, 2008

The New Pot Dealers

Buds of Change
by Susan Block, Counterpunch

I received a house call from my doctor the other day. Well, one of my doctors. I have had a few since that little episode when I almost died last year. And yes, my doctors sometimes make house calls, at least with me, they do. If you had me as a patient, you'd make house calls too. After all, my house is the Speakeasy.

But this was the first doctor that's ever visited me with an entourage. This was a medical show-on-the-road. This was Dr. Roger A. Barnes of the MediMar Clinic, retired anesthesiologist turned MediMar physician with the ability to write prescriptions for medical marijuana. With him came an affable guy carrying a printer, a lawyer who resembled a Creole shaman, and the business brains behind the operation, Nathan.

They don't usually do house calls, unless you're "housebound," and though I rarely leave home, I'm hardly housebound. But when we described the Speakeasy to Nathan, he said the doctor would be over in a couple of hours. I thought it would be one guy, maybe two. But four guys? It was a MediMar team. Or actually more of a party.

First, Dr. Burke and I went into the bar and discussed my Near Death Experience, as well as a bit about "what goes on here." He took my blood pressure. I filled out a medical questionnaire. We talked about sexology and hemp, why we both do what we do, to help people find the pleasures in life and heal the discomfort and pain.

While we chatted in the bar, Nathan talked on his cell, the guy with the printer set up the printer and the lawyer chewed the fat. Next thing I knew they were signing up people, printing laminated licenses to inhale. And why not? We the people should be entitled to make personal use of the healing power of hemp, just like we are free to take aspirin and grow our own organic tomatoes, without legal persecution.

We fed the MediMar team lunch, and let me tell you, working in the pot business must give you the munchies; these guys were hungry. Then damned if they didn't fire up a big doobie right there of fine strawberry flavored ganja with some of that cool transparent organic rolling paper, to celebrate our first legal puff on a jay.

So here I was getting high with my doctor and his entourage, the New American Pot Dealers, except that they weren't actually dealing pot. They were dealing in prescriptions so that law-abiding citizens can enjoy their pot without harassment.

We all gathered around in the commissary and talked about the joys of smoking Afghan, and the way William Randolph Hearst brought the Yellow Peril into our lives. Before that, our forefathers grew it as a crop like tobacco or corn. The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution are rumored to have been written on hemp paper (though other experts say it's parchment). I would venture to guess these great documents were also inspired by the smoking of it. Don't tell me Tommy Jefferson didn't puff on a little homegrown, maybe to ease some pain, in bed with Sally Hemings, while debating democracy with Alex Hamilton, or perhaps to loosen up a little writer's block on that Declaration. And what could be wrong with that?

The New American Pot Dealers are anathema to Big Pharma, the folks who freely dispense Prozac and Vicodin, but don't want to let you heal your pain with a little herb. Why not? Because it cuts into their profits, of course. Pain is big business. Got pain? Whatever pain you've got - mental or physical ­ have they got a costly pharmaceutical for you.

Anyway, now that I'm legal, I just want to "come out" with my hemp smoking, to lend more personalized support to decriminalizing it. As long as we're not hurting someone else, it should not be a crime to heal ourselves when we're sick, or relax ourselves when we're stressed, or inspire ourselves when we get writer's block.

Thank God and Goddess that our laws are evolving. It's happening a little too slowly for sick people who need medicine now, such as my friend with a rare form of cancer who has a Hawaiian medical marijuana license, which is great while he's at home in Hawaii; the problem is that he can't buy pot legally while he's getting his treatments in California. Now how inhumane and ridiculous is that?

We've a long road ahead of us before full nationwide decriminalization. But Dr. Burke's house call is a sign o' the times. The New American Pot Dealers are on the rise. Change is in the air, and it's intoxicating.

Dr. Susan Block is a sex educator, cable TV host and author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure. Visit her BRAND NEW BLOGGAMY & POST COMMENTS at Send comments to

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