Culture Clash: "Stoners" vs. "Wellness" Pot Providers

The Wall St. Journal may seem like an unlikely place to read about culture clash that has arisen among Colorado's medical marijuana community between the "stoners" and the "wellness" folks, but there it is. One point of contention: the names for the strains of pot. The wellness folks don't like names like "trainwreck" or "ak-47s." Another: slogans. The wellness crowd objects to those like "If you've got the pain, we've got the strain." [More...]

A third: appearance of some dispensaries, like those with neon pot plants, plastic aliens in the window and Pink Floyd posters. Another: ads for slick deals, like "Free med grab bag for the first 100 patients".) Says one higher end owner:

"A doctor wouldn't offer, 'Buy one Vicodin, get one free,'" she says. "It turns my stomach."

The "stoners" respond to the wellness folks: "Mellow out" and "It's a business."

The stoners need to sober up a bit. Comments like these are what the DEA is looking for to justify shutting down some dispensaries as being outside the arbitary and vague enforcement language in the supposedly "hands-off" DOJ memo. Examples:

"This is a simple business. Get them in and out, like a gas station," Ms. Macauley says, nibbling on Doritos. "I just want to make my money."

Across town at the Denver Marijuana Medical Center, a bare-bones shop with a three-foot-high plastic alien in the window, owner Julian Sanchez is equally dismissive of attempts to pretty up the industry. "They're not doctors. They're people selling marijuana," he says. "It's all a money game."

If I had to guess which ones will still be in business in a year, given the language in the DOJ memo, I'd predict it will be these two:

Determined to show there's a classier way, Ms. James and her husband run the Apothecary of Colorado in a gentrified building with exposed-brick walls, airy views and unimpeachable fellow tenants—architects, software engineers, wind-energy consultants. The bud bar is lined with live cannabis plants, and a gourmet goodie-shop stocks medicinal banana-nut bread and organic-vegan-gluten-free granola.

A couple blocks away, Shawna Brown creates a similar mood at Lotus Medical, an elegant space with muted lighting, antique furniture, massage tables and a Zen garden. This, she says, is the true face of medical marijuana: dignified care for patients with AIDS, cancer or other chronic illnesses.

< SEIU To Seek Primary Challenger To Health Bill No Vote Arcuri | WSJ Reports Bernie Madoff Was Beaten in Prison >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I'd put my $... (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:00:12 PM EST
    ...on Wanda and her husband too.  Have you ever eaten at their restuarant?  If you like jerked chicken and similar island food, you should check it out.

    BTW Jeralyn... (none / 0) (#6)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 02:27:02 PM EST
    ...did you know that the James' had their grow operation raided?  

    Carping like this.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 12:06:39 PM EST
    reminds me why the medical mj movement never really appealed to me, all we need is individual liberty and everybody is sorted, sick and healthy alike.

    All the medicinal user and the recreational user (as well as their suppliers) need is the for the state to call off the dogs and put away the chains....why differentiate between the two types of users and afford one group rights while still trying to deny the rights of the other? You run into problems and diverging camps like we see here.

    "A doctor wouldn't offer, 'Buy one Vicodin, get one free,'" she says. "It turns my stomach."

    A very cool doctor (actually a pharmacist, doctors don't sell dope, they give you the permission slip to buy dope) would...who doesn't like a 2 for 1 sale?  The "wellness" crew's hearts are in the right place I'm sure, but I too think they need to lighten up...it's still the same old ganja people have enjoyed recreationally for centuries, that we have finally come around to accept it as medicine too doesn't change that fact.  

    Who owns the strains (and naming rights?) (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 01:36:16 PM EST
    in most industries, those who develop the genetics would own both commercial rights if they applied for patents, and the power to name the product, at least until the patents expire.

    Since these strains were developed under a prohibition regime, intellectual property rights would revert to the Government under Civil Forfeiture, should the Feds opt to exercise the authority.

    Absent the will to file claims by the Government, can the breeders file for patents? Since they haven't, are the strains in the public domain, and can the "wellness' crowd rename them as they may desire? that they aren't suggests that they're more interested in trading on the reputation the potent varieties have developed in the "stoner " community, even while decrying the naming.

    we have written dozens of them (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 02:19:09 PM EST
    just search the archives. This site is a strong supporter of the rights of medical marijuana users and their caregivers.

    "nibbling on Doritos" (none / 0) (#7)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 03:17:13 PM EST
    Nice touch.

    Marinol is a class II drug (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 06:13:34 PM EST
    You can get orally ingested cannibinoids as a Class II drug.  You just don't get to smoke them and get high.  If THC is quite legal then I'm sure they will come out with a skin patch for those who claim "nausea" with Marinol.  
    Why don't all you folks just say this:  "Legalizing smoked pot will create health problems and is bad, but having a Mexican narcodemocracy and boobytrapped pot fields in US national parks is worse, so we will legalize it and let the consequences fall where they will."

    Perhaps, (none / 0) (#9)
    by JamesTX on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 02:19:35 AM EST
    buying into the medical model of health is not the only way to be healthy. It isn't necessarily expedient for those who desire specific drugs be made available to adopt the norms, principles and frames of the corrupt medical system which demonized the drugs and made them unavailable to begin with. The traditional view of health care is a system where one ostensibly hires or pays a professional medical decision maker (at hundreds of dollars per hour) to order appropriate medical products and services (at thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per transaction) to be provided with the specific positivist scientific products they need for health at every sign of illness. That is perhaps an economically unrealistic model for most of us in the world today. Instead, most of us are the unfortunate  late buyers in a ponzi scheme where the economic facts of life are being hidden from us while we are sold false security at roughly 30% of our income. The positivist science professionals don't have time to accurately determine the actual needs, under their own theories, of any but the wealthiest patients. I am willing to accept that I cannot afford positivist science health care. In its place, I should have access to the basic substances that made human life livable prior to the rise of the current medical industry at the beginning of the 20th century. Statistically, maybe it will cost me years one way or the other, but economic limits are not contrived barriers. They are real walls which cannot be scaled by definition. Some are "haves". Most are "have nots". Apparently, the United States citizenry is comfortable with that state of affairs in principle. If I can't afford the positivist science system, and I can't have the benefits of that science, then why do I have to use their theories and their ideas, and especially their language, in reasoning about strategies for negotiating the natural cycles of physical life.

    On the other hand, adopting the language of recreational use implies banned substances are trivial luxuries, rather than natural products which all humans have the right to possess and use. The notion of banning a medicinal or therapeutic plant is a human rights absurdity. The recreationist language cheapens and trivializes the battle for preserving the basic natural human right to the vegetation which the planet produces.  Such language is perhaps not consistent with the dire political and legal struggles which Americans face with respect to substances. This stuff is more important than is reflected by street names and language reflecting the trappings of the underground culture of recreational use which has grown up under the oppression of contraband laws. It trivializes and cheapens an important human rights struggle.