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Toke '09

Dude, where's my medical marijuana?

April 21, 2009, 12:00 am

Sammy B is a man with a medical condition. Approximately three months ago, he hurt his back on one of those Ab Lounge contraptions from the infomercials. Hell yeah, the marijuana helps with the pain.
“I’m a stay-at-home dad and I can’t be on painkillers and watch my kids,” Sammy says. “With marijuana I can monitor myself.”

Sammy’s two boys play outside while his pot dealer, Kyle B, wrestles with a video game controller on the couch. Kyle is trying to heal his character, which has just been bitten by one of Resident Evil 5’s African zombies.

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Dave Maass

Sammy B wants to grow as a person while growing pot.

A High Times bud-of-the-month calendar hangs on the wall of the master bedroom, right next to the door of what might once have been a laundry room. Sammy’s neurologist appointment is just a few lines above a harvesting reminder. He opens the pantry door: Several four-week-old marijuana plants fan out under a UV light.

“Any more than that would be greedy,” Sammy says.

He’s not sure what strain the original seeds were, but he’s hoping the plants will grow into “Lemon Trainwreck” and “Sour Diesel,” two particularly tasty and potent strains.

Under New Mexico’s rules, home producers are allowed to have up to four plants and 12 seedlings. The plants in Sammy’s pantry are still small enough to qualify as seedlings, but the other batch of barely sprouted plants in a secret spot down the hall would bring him into violation.

Not that his back condition qualifies him for a patient card in the first place. This is straight-up illegal; Sammy’s marijuana use goes well past recreational into habitual.

“See, for me, pot is a lifestyle,” he says, lifting his shirt to reveal a gleaming, postcard-sized marijuana leaf belt buckle.

Stoner he may be, but Sammy has a sober dream, one that seems more and more viable each year. He attends the advisory board meetings, he’s reviewed all the application forms. He regularly gets his mother-in-law high and she suffers from hepatitis C-related conditions that would be covered under the regulations. Once approved, he can apply to be her caregiver, which means he can legally grow pot—in her home.

Sammy says he plans to attend a 13-week program at Oaksterdam University in California, where he can learn everything he needs to know to be a legitimate medical marijuana grower.

“I’d totally hire a babysitter if I could get a job in a legal grow house,” Sammy says. “Wouldn’t you, Kyle?”

“Yeah,” Kyle mumbles.

Under the state regulations, anyone convicted of distributing or trafficking drugs is permanently banned from working for a medical marijuana producer. Two years ago, Kyle was arrested when cops found him with two pipes, a scale and two bags of weed. He should have been busted for distribution, but was only charged with possession.

He will have to wait at least three years before he’s eligible for a job with a licensed producer. That’s assuming he’s not caught dealing first.

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