When a Winnebago pulls up in front of the Cow Palace in San Francisco on a sunny Saturday and unfurls a sign advertising "$45 medical marijuana recommendations or your money back," it's easy to see why some call the state's medical marijuana laws farcical. Sure, pot's less toxic than aspirin and 90 percent of presenting patients are "self-medicating" anyway. And, sure, almost none complain to the state medical board. But in an overweight country with skyrocketing health liabilities, there's something unseemly about a five-minute "doctor visit" that requires no medical records. What if something was actually wrong with you? Berkeley family practitioner Dr. Frank Lucido is a rare specimen: the diligent physician who understands weed. Serving the East Bay since the 1970s, Lucido will recommend marijuana to qualified patients, but in a more professional process. Serious cannabis specialists like Lucido catch serious things, like, in one case, a lingering fatigue that's actually early thyroid cancer. An activist for both medical marijuana patients and physician rights, Dr. Lucido fights in court and in the press to normalize the maligned herbal remedy. So when your aging parent eventually needs some killer arthritis cream, it needn't involve Winnebagos.
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