Friday, June 29, 2012

Writing About a Medical Marijuana Dispensary for Next Book in Chase of a Lifetime Series

Writing about a medical marijuana dispensary sounded like fun when I first started. I'm finishing up the next book in the Chase of a Lifetime series, "Chase of a Dream," and I needed something interesting for one of the characters. For those who have read the first book, the character I'm talking about is Cain Mayfield. He's Len Mayfield's grown son from his first marriage to a woman.

In short, Cain shows up in Los Angeles in the beginning of the book and he moves in with Len, Jim, and their three-year old, Culum. And Cain's connection to the family isn't just because Len is Cain's father. Cain is also Jim's best friend from childhood and Cain's the biological father of Culum.

The problem with Cain is that since he graduated from Standford he's been floundering around. He flunked out of grad school and moved to Hawaii to live with his mother and screwed up there. So now he's in LA, trying to find his own dream at the expense of Len and Jim's regular routine. But he's also Culum's biological father and they want Culum to grow up knowing his dad.

Cain is an interesting character in the sense that he's still not fond of the fact that his dad is gay...but he doesn't hold this against old friend Jim, who happens to be his dad's husband. It gets complicated sometimes, but the point is that Cain is always doing something unexpected. And one day he decides he wants to open up a legal medical marijuana dispensary in the LA area and his dad, Len, hits the roof. Len is conservative and he doesn't get the concept of legal weed. So Len tells Cain that if he wants to open his own marijuana dispensary he has to get a job at an estabilished dispensary first to see if that's what he really wants to do with his life.

And that's exactly what Cain does. He applies for a job at a legal medical marijuana dispensary on Sunset that's not only very high-end and caters to the best clients in Beverly Hills, but is also owned and operated by a transgender with whom Cain winds up having an affair. Without giving out any spoilers, this creates an interesting conflict...with regard to both the transgender relationship and Cain's career goals.

My problem in writing this is that I discovered that owning a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere is not as simple as they make it look on TV or the movies. It's one of the most complicated businesses to run in the universe and there are legal details that never seem to end. And even if all those details are covered, there are still many risks and costs can run very high. And I'm not expert in the field of running a legal medical marijuana dispensary. The information available is sketchy at best. So I ultimately decided to handle this subject with great care. I can't go into any details about it because that would spoil a few surprises. But I did take the topic very seriously and I think I made the right decision with regard to how I did it.

Aside from all this, the basic plot of this next book in the COAL series revolves around Len and Jim building their family, their lives, and their careers. Though they love their completely renovated home in the Hollywood Hills, Len starts to miss Texas, his horses, and his old ranch. So they wind up moving to a ranch outside of Los Angeles that's still close enough to their jobs and Culum's pre-school in West Hollywood. And dealing with Cain and the medical marijuana dispensary is just one of the challenges they face while doing this.


Jon Michaelsen said...

So looking forward to the sequel, Ryan, as I enjoyed Chase of a Lifetime so much...your plot for the follow-up sounds fantastic and I know you always do some extensive research to get the facts "straight" - so it's going to be a pleasure to read, I'm sure. Interesting you chose Cannabis; another that seems interesting are all the Pill Mills that keep getting busted in Atlanta, and I'm sure across the nation - that area too would be interesting to research and you got me thinking...

ryan field said...

I was amazed at how complicated it is to operate a legal dispensary, and how many legal issues can come up. I'm still back-tracking with certain points.

Kathy H said...

Sounds like fun series to read. I will have to pick it up. I haven't had much time to read for pleasure lately. I have also found I have become very finicky about who I read anymore. I think this will make a great vaction read. I will let you know what I think of it.

ryan field said...

I wanted to keep it fun, too. Which is why I backed off a little on the legal aspects of dispensaries and went into other areas. It's very complicated.