Open Discussion: My friend the pothead … an open letter to L.A. City Council

Shelly & Scott, Christmas 2009

By Scott Crawford

This is my best friend Shelly. We have been friends since I was sixteen. We talk several times a day. During those years, we have shared pretty much everything. Her divorces, my trips, raising her sons, losing my parents.. Weʼve grown up together. Twenty-three years ago, Shelly was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since that time, she has had nine bouts with the big C, losing both her breasts, undergoing re-constructive surgery, losing her hair, etc. It was during these years that she began to smoke marijuana. It gives her an appetite and has kept her alive during all the chemo.

I was very sad when the Los Angeles City Council recently moved to close all medical marijuana dispensaries. Shelly has been living with dignity for years without the constant nausea and vomiting up the little food she was able to get down. Now, thanks to the Councilʼs decision, she will lose that small victory. Since 1996, Shelly has had to only deal with fatigue, hair loss, cramps, headaches, loss of sensation. Now she will have to face weight loss, vomiting, and more severe pain due to the chemo.

If the issue really is the fear of crime or community disruption because of these businesses, why not have them pay additional public safety fees when they want to open a location, like we do with other businesses? And we need to know where these businesses are. We still canʼt get an accurate number of how many of the dispensaries are operating in Los Angeles. They should register and be required to not locate near schools or residential neighborhoods. There should also be a limit on how many dispensaries are permitted within a square mile. It seems to me that the answer isnʼt closures, but regulation, registration and enforcement.

Oh, and just for the record, unlike our former President, I have never inhaled. Although, I have tried the big M. In my twenties, I went over to my friend Nanʼs house. She wasnʼt home, I was starving. I went into her fridge and there were some old brownies. They didnʼt look so good but I was hungry. I ate two and slept for two days. It was a horrible sleep and I learned my lesson, Iʼve never had any desire to try it again.

But for my friend Shelly and thousands of others for whom medical marijuana provides blessed relief, these dispensaries should be legal.

Scott Crawford is a Silver Lake resident who is a candidate in the upcoming City Council District 13 election.

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  1. Nice letter.. But you do realize that the state did not provision the legal sale of marijuana… The city is just obeying the state law and trying to protect from state repercussions.

    However.. Since our city has no problem trumping federal laws (see sanctuary city) I don’t see why they won’t pull the same eff you on this issue ;). Thanks for your contribution.

  2. Great letter Mr. Crawford. HSL, what the city did was provision patients means to acquire their medicine. And what state law are they obeying??

  3. And also thank the Obama DOJ and DEA which have been relentless and unprecedented in their prosecution of marijuana “crimes”. Wonderful letter, my best to your friend, who puts a face on the insanity of our faux-Puritan, prohibition culture.

  4. “faux-Puritan, prohibition culture” I love it.

  5. Shutting down the dispensaries should be a huge boost for illegal marijuana sales! Way to go L.A.!

  6. Thanks for your letter, these images are perfect for adding to the movement to decriminalize marijuana use!

  7. You’re 100% right, Mr. Crawford.

  8. Great letter. Especially from someone running for office. Some of my best friends benefit from medical marijuana and have done so in the past. Legalize all drugs I say.

  9. I have seen two people die from cancer and it’s not pretty. For these patients, when chemo does not work, and doctors shrug their shoulders an all hope is lost, it feels good to know that your friend, wife, daughter, brother, can die in comfort, rather than pain and they could finally rest in peace.

  10. Thank you, Mr. Crawford, for your compassion.

    Some politicians are taking political advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society to position themselves as law and order. I’m glad to see you have the integrity to stand by those in need and not pander to peoples’ fear.

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