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In the absence of dispensaries, patients who need marijuana can turn to ... Craigslist?

If you want to know how to become a medical-marijuana patient in Arizona, the state Department of Health Services lays out almost everything you need.

The department's website (www.azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/patients) tells you what ailments qualify, what information to compile to apply for certification, how to apply for certification, and even when and where you can apply.

The state is similarly helpful when it comes to information about becoming a caregiver (www.azdhs.gov/medicalmarijuana/caregivers). The rules are all there in black and white, laying it all out to grease the skids for you to help your fellow man via the provision of medical marijuana.

The state also gives caregiver and patent statistics, plenty of information about the lawsuits over medical marijuana (the state is a party to six!) and information for physicians curious about the program.

Then the information stops.

Nowhere does the state tell patients where to get marijuana in the absence of dispensaries, or where to learn to grow it, or where to get some clones (starter plants) or seeds. There is no list of caregivers, and no registry from which we might draw names and information.

For those things, it seems to me, based on some limited Internet research, your best bet is probably ... Craigslist. Yes, the website you used to sell your Xbox to buy a bag of weed five years ago has suddenly become a decent place to find some weed.

You can try the websites that pop up when you Google things such as "Tucson marijuana caregiver," but they seem shady to me. I found a lot of out-of-town phone numbers for what seemed like purely commercial operations. There seems to be a cottage industry of website-driven marketing that puts page views on websites and drives ad revenue, but gives us little people Not One Fucking Thing We Can Use.

So ... stick to Craigslist, when possible, IMHO. The ads there are written by people, not marketing wonks or bots of some kind.

Tucson had a handful of local weed ads last week.

"Wonderful 'medibles' for patients," reads one posted by a retired chef looking to join forces with another patient or two to make beautiful food together.

An ad from a caregiver, which has since been deleted by the author, was a little less lively and a tad more clinical; it showed a giant cannabis leaf and put out a call for patients.

"I have some extra meds available for those (who) qualify," said the authorized cultivator.

A quick search turned up two ads for clones: one on Craigslist, and one on BackPage.com.

The Craigslist ad succinctly offers clones for Chiesel (a sativa hybrid strain), Big Bud (a strain cultivated for high yield), Silver Bubble (another sativa-dominant hybrid), Mk-Ultra (a 2003 High Times Cannabis Cup indica category winner) and White Berry (an indica-dominant strain that flowers quickly).

That's what I'm talkin' about.

The BackPage ad shows photos of plants, including a couple of nicely leafed-out "teen" plants more than a foot tall.

"All donations requested are to recover costs of growing and cultivating medicinal cannabis in strict compliance with Health and Safety Code," this grower writes.

This ad includes a lot of disclaimers and warnings that you are on your own as far as following the law. In fact, all of the ads state that they will deal only with card-carrying medical-marijuana patients.

But the bottom line is that certified patients can now buy weed on Craigslist, the same website where broke college students sell the bikes they got for Christmas ... so they can buy some pot.

God bless America.

More by J.M. Smith

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