Good Seeds Yield Good Deeds
the420times | Oct 31, 2012 | Comments 0
By Phyllis Pollack
Medical marijuana dispensaries help their communities in many ways. In addition to providing much needed medications, socially conscious 420 providers have found unique ways to assist their neighborhoods.
While the feds and select politicians repeatedly paint false, negative pictures of those running medical marijuana dispensaries, many 420 establishments have worked overtime, not only to help their patients, but also to get involved in various causes throughout the community.
TMLD, a Pre-ICO dispensary located in North Hollywood, lets their patients decide each month who will receive a donation from them. A bud tender there explains, “We send an email out each month, offering a choice between two organizations.” He says, “Things related to animals are real big.” The Los Angeles branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals SPCA and the terribly underfunded Van Nuys Animal Shelter are among those that have benefited from TMLD’s help.
Every Saturday for the last six years, West Hollywood’s Zen Healing offers a barbeque to feed the homeless at Social Services at the Blessed Sacrament church in Hollywood at 6636 Selma Avenue. The dispensary, known for its wide range of meds, and its vending machines, is among those that offer a compassion program for severely ill patients in need.
The meals for the homeless begin at 10 am, and they ensue until noon, or until they run out of food, whichever comes first. The dispensary’s owner, Andrew Kramer, says that the Los Angeles Almanac estimates that 254,000 men, women and children are homeless in the city that ironically, is best known for its celebrities, glitz and glamour.
Meanwhile, The Farmacy in West Hollywood supports the Being Alive Program, which helps HIV positive patients. The dispensary donates pre-printed coupons that are each good for a gram to the organization. Being Alive then distributes those coupons to those patients that they feel need the most help. The Farmacy has been making such donations for the last few years.
Santa Cruz’ Granny Purps dispensary offers free joints in exchange for canned goods in an effort to help the Second Harvest Food Bank during the pre- holiday season, from Thanksgiving through Christmas. The dispensary collected 12,000 pounds of food in 2010. Last year, they collected approximately 19,800 pounds of food that was delivered.
On the last Sunday of September, they sponsored a beach clean up, an activity they sponsor at least twice a year at Rio Del Mar, located in Aptos. One of their bud tenders explains, “For several weeks before, we have fliers, a sign-up sheet, and patients volunteer to come to beach. It’s a really great thing to do. It gets the community together, and it helps the beach.”
Another fundraising effort they enacted resulted in donating 100 mattresses to the largest homeless shelter in the city there. The dispensary also gave cash donations, and hygiene products to the shelter.
A volunteer at another dispensary that told The 420 Times he wanted to be off the record, because of climate of fear surrounding dispensaries in LA. “We sponsor a food and clothing drive,” he said. “It’s a continuous food and clothing drive. People know to bring stuff in, and we’ll donate it. Throughout the month, we drop things off at homeless shelters and at Baptist Ministries in South Los Angeles.”
He has even more aspirations as far as helping the community. “I want our patients to get involved in the sewer drain project.”
Perennial Holistic Wellness Center in Studio City has decided to focus their social consciousness on patients’ rights to safe access. General manager Allen Fradkin says they run “an extremely politically active” dispensary. “We donate to groups like ASA, GLACA, and the UFCW 770. We were part of the effort for the referendum. We have a very diligent patient policy, where we have voter registration forms on hand. We encourage all our patients to vote, and we let them know what’s going on, and where people stand on the cannabis issues, especially when it comes to the L.A. City Council.” He adds, “Sam Humeid, the CEO, is pretty much my eyes and ears out there, and I run the dispensary, so he can do that. He is totally involved as far as sensible regulation in Los Angeles goes.”
Fradkin states, “Recently with the last round of closures, we donated, in addition, so this is not including what our patients put in, we donated five thousand dollars out of our operating budget for the referendum efforts.” He says, “We’re still raising funds for whatever is next. Right now, it looks like it’s going to be the ballot issue in March.”
He adds, “Sam is real involved in the Neighborhood Council, as well as the ASA efforts. He actually just ran for one of the offices there, on the ballot in Studio City.”
Meanwhile, Jeremy, at the 1 Love Beach Club dispensary, says the family-run establishment has donated to the Gay Pride Festival in Long Beach, and to AIDS foundations. “We have a large gay population in the area, and we do as much as we can,” he comments.
“We have also donated clothes and canned food to a local church, and we did a school drive at the beginning of this year to donate school supplies to a local school,” he advises.
When it comes to helping people, the collective not only thinks about its own neighborhood, but it also thinks in terms of charity globally. “We also did a solar lighting project in India. We sponsored one of our patients, who is a philanthropist, and he provides solar energy to third world countries. Mostly it’s for schools, so they can have lighting and electricity, so the kids can read. We sponsored his trip to India,” he says.
“We’ve been here for almost four years now,” he reflects. He then expresses concern for the patients that come in to the dispensary. “It’s unfortunate, but the numbers of people that we’re seeing is increasing every day, people with fibromyalgia, cancer, MS. The numbers are increasing so rapidly, it’s very scary.”
“We’ve been providing positive services for the community,” Jeremy notes.
“We don’t even advertise. It’s all word of mouth.” He elaborates, “It’s my family who operates their cooperative and stuff. So we have a great client base. My mom works here four or five days a week. She’s 50 years old. There are patients that come in to specifically speak to her, because some patients don’t feel that comfortable speaking to a 25 or 26 year-old person, who might know more about the product, but they want to talk to someone older.”
As far as how politicians promote a negative view the people dispensaries, he says, “I hope it turns around.”