By Tessa Stuart
eggrole / Flickr
Inside 420 W. Pico Ave. in downtown L.A., patients can pick their treatment from a menu; the strains of marijuana have names like “skittles,” “sour diesel” and “sucker punch.” The main attraction at Kush Connection, though, is “Master Yoda” — known for a sweet, citrusy taste, and for delivering the smooth, powerful, full-body high that earned it the blue ribbon in the hybrid category at the Los Angeles Cannabis Cup.
The grower has warm memories of that day in February. “It was a personal crossroads for me,” he says of accepting the trophy from hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on the L.A. Center Studios stage.
After years of facing stigma for his work, he was finally being validated. Everyone was happy, no one was fighting, and the event was held out in the open, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
All that peace, love and transparency is poised to go up in one big cloud of smoke. Although L.A.’s Sept. 6 ban on dispensaries has been put on hold, police crackdowns seem inevitable, and paranoia is pervasive. The grower, who has taken pains to be legally compliant, says law enforcement has been staking out Kush Connection in recent weeks with a telephoto lens.
One might think that patients are stocking up, but the grower says it has been the opposite: Business is down 65 percent since the ban was announced July 24.
One answer to the chaos and uncertainty is to grow your own.
“If you go by the state attorney general’s guidelines, they don’t say anything about dispensaries,” says Robert Calkin, founder of the Cannabis Career Institute in North Hollywood. “What it does say in the attorney general’s guidelines is that we can create private groups of citizens who can grow and distribute amongst ourselves.”
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