by Julia Peterson
Right after college I started working at a medical marijuana doctor’s office in San Francisco’s SOMA district. I did patient intakes, where I asked intrusive questions to strangers about their medical histories, their medical records, and why they wanted to use medical marijuana.
I met elderly people with chronic pain and veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I met the kind of people whose endearing stories have won the sympathy of 18 states where medical marijuana is legal.
I also met the patients who the medical marijuana movement rarely highlights—patients under 18. I mostly hated my job, but meeting those 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds and their parents made me really proud of where I worked.
Moms and dads who brought in their teenage children were easy to spot in the waiting room. They all looked the same, they clutched thick stacks of medical records to their chests, their eyes darting around the room, wondering who’s judging them. They downloaded the intake form off our website and neatly typed out the answers, which almost nobody does.