Guy Adams: LA needs its pot smokers

Los Angeles Notebook: How Hollywood hits may go up in smoke

Share
Related Topics

It's Wednesday night at the Sunset Marquis, a Hollywood hotel where Springsteen, Jagger, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith and most other self-respecting rockers stay when they're in town. We're sitting by the pool waiting for Stevie Wonder to perform and wondering exactly how many TV sets have, over the years, crash-landed in our immediate vicinity. LA being LA, no one's actually swimming.

My friend, who works in the music business and got us invites to this bash, opens his wallet to reveal a card containing his name, address, and the signature of a doctor. It cost about $100, he says, and for the past decade has helped him purchase and consume marijuana throughout California. Soon, however, it may become worthless. A jury at the US District Court in LA is currently hearing the case of Charles Lynch, the owner of a shop in Morro Bay called Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers.

Mr Lynch is on trial because his store sells just one product: cannabis. If found guilty, he could get five years. The case revolves around a single point. Under Proposition 215, a California state law which, in 1996, legalised weed for "medicinal purposes," Mr Lynch claims to have been operating legally.

The cops see things differently: they say marijuana is still banned under federal law, which is superior to state law, thereby making the defendant a common drug dealer. As ever in a test case, the trial's implications will be felt beyond the courtroom.

Should Lynch be found guilty, it will spell disaster for laid-back Angelenos and the mini-industry of doctors who are paid to perscribe them marijuana for spurious reasons such as "anxiety." Other pot retailers, in places such as Venice, will be forced out of business.

It will also be a spanner in the works of Hollywood, which is about to enjoy a revival of the "stoner movie." Pot is constantly smoked on the TV shows Entourage and Weeds, and with a bong-puffing Ben Kingsley just a hit in The Wackness, the soft drug is firmly back in vogue.

Today, Seth Rogen's marijuana comedy Pineapple Express hits cinemas; soon, Rhys Ifans will star in a biopic of Howard Marks. So while Charles Lynch stands in the dock, most of Hollywood is secretly praying that he's acquitted. This town needs its pot smokers, because the film industry's next big trend depends on it.

Legal beverage

Bourgeois crisis of the week: Santa Monica's chattering classes have lost a favourite hang-out, after Starbucks decided to close 600 US branches. The chain blames global economic turmoil, but perhaps it should learn from competitors and diversify: my local café recently went into partnership with one of LA's ubiquitous law firms. The sign outside offers: "coffee and a counsel."

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Education Editor: This shocking abuse of teachers should be taken seriously

Richard Garner
Brand loyalty: businessmen Stuart Rose (pictured with David Cameron at the Conservative conference in 2010) was among the signatories  

So, the people who always support the Tories... are supporting the Tories? Has the world gone mad?

Mark Steel
War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?