I have to admit I was a little nervous about getting a recommendation. Actually a lot nervous. The idea scared me. I was worried I wouldn’t get the recommendation and also that I’d be out a job and out the cost of the appointment at the clinic.
I’d asked my own naturopath what she thought first. I told her frankly I wanted a recommendation for the job more than anything, but I did think it might help with my pain. She was interested in seeing if it would help. She thought it might, but she wasn’t going to write me a recommendation. She said it was the policy of her practice not to. I assumed there were risks associated with writing recommendations for medical marijuana due to the quasi-legal status of cannabis in the US, but I didn’t ask.
That left me with the option of going to one of the many specialized clinics in the city. My friend had suggested one such clinic. I looked up their website, gathered my medical documents and headed to my appointment.
The clinic occupied a small 2-room office behind a storefront in a nice section of town. There was a deck with a few chairs outside. Potential new patients were sitting in the waiting room and out on the deck. I walked over to the receptionist who told me there had been a scheduling software error and that everyone there was booked for the same appointment. She gave me some paperwork to fill out and told me I’d have to wait.
At this point my injuries were making things like sitting in waiting rooms pretty unpleasant. The chairs were hard. I had nothing to occupy myself. The room was crowded. I tried not to pass judgment on the other people waiting. I couldn’t help it. That person looked perfectly healthy. So did this one. I began to wonder whether it was going to be hard as I’d thought or if this whole situation were a joke. After a long wait my name was called.
The second room was a little office with a nice view. A graying woman sat at a desk and asked me to sit down. She was the naturopath I’d come to see. I told her about my car wreck and the problems I was experiencing. She was compassionate and sweet. I answered many questions. Without looking at the medical records I’d brought, she finally wrote a recommendation for me and gave me a packet of information about medical marijuana, intoxication versus wellness, and information on some types of medicine she thought would work for me - tinctures, topicals and edibles. She also gave me a list of non-cannabis supplements that would help me with my injuries.
The receptionist gave me my actual recommendation after my interview with the doctor. I thanked her and slipped it into the folder with the rest of my medical paperwork. I requested a second ‘original’ (so I could keep one recommendation on site at my new job.) She said they’d mail it to me. I paid on the spot and walked out the door.
And just like that it was legal for me to possess, use and even grow marijuana.
Above: A California patient holds his medical marijuana club card during a demonstration in front of the San Francisco Hall of Justice on July 12, 2005. (This is not me.)