Medical Marijuana

Silicon Valley Takes to Medical Marijuana

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Being a computer coder takes a physical toll. The long hours sitting at a keyboard can cause back and wrist pain. You can run to a pharmacy and pick up some Advil, or if you're in Silicon Valley, you can drop by the Palliative Health Center for some Sour Diesel. Palliative Health is a medical marijuana dispensary, one of many in San Jose, Calif. Inside, iPads are mounted on pedestals so patients can scroll through and check prices and availability of Sour Diesel, Chem Dog, and a dozen or so other strains. The shop offers marijuana-infused sodas, muffins, and chocolates, and monthly classes on cooking with cannabis.

Around 40 percent of Palliative Health's clients are tech workers, says Ernie Arreola, 38, the assistant manager. "We're seeing people from some semiconductors, lots of engineers, lots of programmers," he says. That makes sense, because the shop is an easy shot from some of the area's biggest employers—Cisco Systems (CSCO), Google (GOOG), Adobe Systems (ADBE), Apple (AAPL), EBay (EBAY)—and a short drive from dozens more. Also, people in Silicon Valley do like their pot.