Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finding Medical Marijuana Made Easier

(CBS) Finding medical marijuana is going high-tech.

Apple is the latest to offer an electronic means to find cannibus clubs -- dispensaries of medical marijuana in states where it's legal. A new application for the iPhone enables people to locate such dispensaries.

"Early Show" national correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported Tuesday that the program is gong for $3. It literally pinpoints legal pot sellers in the vicinity of the device.

Jason Beck, owner of Alternative Herbal Health Services, runs a store that sells brownies cooked with cannabis, as well as other pot products.

Beck is among a growing crowd of cannabis clubs in Los Angeles. Over 800 medical marijuana shops, Kauffman said, are sprouting up like weeds throughout the city. In some neighborhoods, she said, there are more dispensaries than there are McDonalds or Starbucks.

A Google search of one section of Los Angeles, Kauffman said, found 24 Starbucks and 10 McDonalds, but it was cannabis clubs that dominated the neighborhood -- with 39 locations.

L.A. City Councilman Ed Reyes wants to limit the number of these dispensaries. He told Kauffman, "Money does some funny things to people."

Kauffman asked Reyes if the legitimate demand for medical marijuana is that big. The demand is certainly there, Reyes responded, but, "Whether it's legitimate or not -- that's the question."

Reyes agreed with Kauffman when she remarked there may be some fraud taking place on prescription pads. "Exactly," he said. "Right on point."

But dispensers such as Beck say it's not about competition, it's about treating those who are most in need of medical marijuana.

"With 800, 900, potential facilities in Los Angeles County alone," he said, "you can't tell me that every single one of those shops is for the benefit of the patients."

Kauffman observed that, with new means to find medical pot, and with all the potential profits, cannabis clubs are finding that the grass -- is greener.

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