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Medical Marijuana Dispensing: The New Voc-Ed

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A Pasadena woman can teach you how to run a shop like this one (Photo by via Flickr)

A Pasadena woman can teach you how to run a shop like this one (Photo by via Flickr)
The teacher addresses the class: "This is a new industry that's going to turn California around, and you're it."

So is Liz McDuffie talking about high speed rail, or social-networking, or green-collar jobs? Well, she is talking about two kinds of green--money and marijuana. McDuffie teaches a class at her Medical Cannabis Caregivers Directory in Pasadena, and her story is told in today's Star-News.

Students pay $130 to attend her workshop, where McDuffie covers "the maze of legal issues surrounding the use and sale of medical marijuana, [...] the process involved in becoming a 'primary care provider,' and [...] the risks of operating a medical marijuana dispensing business." Instead of focusing her energy on engaging in discussions about legality, McDuffie is focused solely on "regulation and compliance," which she sees as "the key to the industry's legitimization."

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McDuffie's line of work seems to have gotten a sort of second-hand green light last week when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government would no longer raid dispensaries in California. Although McDuffie is a teacher, and a medical marijuana user for over a decade, her business is limited to "provid[ing] a searchable directory of physicians and caregivers who prescribe and sell medical marijuana, and to provid[ing] training for individuals interested in providing medical marijuana services." Dispensaries are not allowed in the City of Pasadena, but McDuffie is not in any violation of local laws by offering instruction.

It's not clear how the new administration in DC will handle the marijuana issue from here on out, although there are growing movements here in California to make pot a cash crop and bring the state some much-needed revenue. McDuffie is ahead of the game, working on the notion that medical marijuana is the future, not a point to battle over:

"Please - it's here," said McDuffie. "The question is, how do we gracefully make an entrance into the business community?"