Don't hesitate to medicate," call the spruikers in their white coats on Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach, California, where doctors licensed to prescribe medical marijuana do a brisk trade. Walk-ins merely have to turn up and describe some vague pain or high level of stress to bag their weed.
The rest of the world seems to be trying to ignore it, but slowly and surely the United States of America, until recently leading the charge in the war on drugs, is legalising marijuana possession. Twenty states, from Alaska to Vermont, have already decriminalised adult cultivation and use of cannabis.
If Kaikohe businesswoman, community leader and mother Kelly van Gaalen knows about this, I'm sure she would have had a wry chuckle to herself about the irony of it all as she was taken away to begin her two-year sentence for possession of cannabis for supply, imposed on her by Judge John McDonald last month.
Meanwhile, back in the US, guess what hasn't fallen in? That's right - the sky.
According to the US National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, for most states decriminalisation means "no arrest, prison time or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. In most decriminalised states, these offences are treated like a minor traffic violation."
Twenty states is critical mass and the rest of the union is likely to follow. Then the US will join countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal where marijuana is legal.
But not New Zealand.
It makes the resistance of our lawmakers to such humane and sensible legislation all the more absurd, and the treatment of van Gaalen all the more disgraceful.
The recreational advantages of marijuana are vastly overrated. In general it makes stupid people stupider. But if Joe or Josephine Genius wants to dumb him or herself down for a while, where's the harm? And in many of those cases where being stoned makes people incapable of speech, that is a positive outcome.
I have many acquaintances for whom I would not only prescribe marijuana but pay for it on those grounds.
Then there are the legitimate medical benefits. No one can deny it has analgesic effects for certain types of pain that nothing else seems to relieve so efficiently. In particular, it relieves the side-effects of chemotherapy, but it also appears to have benefits for glaucoma, anxiety, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus and other conditions.
The argument has long been made that legalisation will enable police resources to be used in dealing with more serious offences. However, the police already exercise a lot of discretion enforcing - or often not enforcing - this law. No one knows better than they where their resources are best used.
Legalisation would bring to an end the hypocrisy that occurs in schools when students found using weed are punished by teachers who more than likely indulge in the practice themselves socially.
Legalisation would also remove some of the other anomalies that arise when cultivation, possession or use of marijuana is a crime, such as triggering a jail term for someone convicted under three-strikes legislation.
Every objection that can be raised, not least the possibility that it will act as a trigger to mental illness, is even truer for alcohol. Clearly people with this propensity should not consume cannabis. Or alcohol.
This is a medical and criminal issue as well as a social issue.
Unfortunately, as with the case of medically supervised euthanasia, our Government and other political parties steadfastly refuse to display any leadership.