Medical marijuana can’t be sold at regular stores or pharmacies. Legal specifics require medicinal pot shops to be run as non-profit dispensaries or co-ops supported by members. Before you can buy medical marijuana, you’ll have to register as a member of one of these clubs.
In order to register with a dispensary, you’ll need a doctor’s recommendation to use marijuana. Visit one of LA’s many, many pot doctors, describe an ailment, and get yourself a pot perscription.
Take the doctors note to a dispensary, along with a valid California state identification. They’ll give you a form to fill out, explaining the terms of membership for their club. It’s pretty standard stuff — you agree to follow CA laws, not smoke weed in the parking lot, not sell weed to your friends, etc…
While you sign and initial those forms, they’ll call your doctor’s office to verify your prescription. As law enforcement has attempted to crackdown on the proliferation of pot shops, clinics have been forced to scrutinize doctor’s notes more closely.
Once they’ve checked your note out, they’ll make a copy of it along with a copy of your ID. Those copies will remain in their membership records for the duration of your year-long prescription.
Once that’s taken care of, you’ll be an official member of their club. And as such, you’re entitled to partake of their medicine, just so long as you leave a donation.
At most dispensaries, you’ll only have to bring your ID card for subsequent visits. Though you should always keep your original doctor’s note handy for safety reasons.