Three weeks after a proposed shuttle service for medical marijuana patients and caregivers hit a speed bump because of DMV restrictions, permits and licenses, the Eagle Rock venture is back on track.
This past Saturday, March 31, a 10-seat van ferried four people free of cost roughly halfway across town along Colorado Boulevard to a marijuana facility and back, according to veteran Eagle Rock resident Tim Ryder, who heads Cannabis Clubs United With the Community, a group devoted to the safe distribution of medical marijuana in the neighborhood.
Ryder reported the shuttle’s successful run to members of the at their monthly board meeting at on Tuesday night.
Bad—or Good—for the Community?
“We’ve heard a lot of hearsay,” Ryder told the ERNC board, referring to allegations that Eagle Rock’s medical marijuana facilities, which are scattered along Colorado Boulevard and Eagle Rock Boulevard, are disruptive to the community because they tend to attract drug-dealing customers and people who smoke dope openly in public.
“We don’t think there’s a bad effect on the community,” Ryder said, referring to customers of the cannabis dispensaries. “A lot of the people coming to Eagle Rock—80 to 90 percent of them—are spending their money here.” He added: “We think that’s a good thing—if we hear some complaints, we try to resolve them.”
Ryder handed out copies of a map, which showed the shuttle’s starting point—the east parking lot of the Eagle Rock Recreation Center, located at 7550 N. Figueroa St., on the corner of Eagle Vista Drive. The free shuttle will run every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Ryder told Patch that the Department of Recreation and Parks had given his organization permission to use the parking lot.
According to Ryder’s map, the shuttle traveled to House of Kush, a medical marijuana collective located on 1632 Colorado Blvd., next to the pub and across the street from the fitness studio. Ryder said he is collaborating with the collective to arrange to bring patients and caregivers.
Questions on Shuttle's Funding, Paperwork
Several ERNC board members quizzed Ryder about the shuttle. “Is your organization transparent?” asked ERNC Immediate Past President Stephan Early. “Can anybody look at where the funding is coming for the driver and the shuttle?”
Ryder replied that “right now we’re just setting it up—we’re not getting funding from anybody.”
“How did you get around Public Utilities?” asked ERNC Vice President and Business Director Michael Nogueira, referring to the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates all manner of privately owned transportation companies in the state.
“We’re allowed to transport up to 10 people,” Ryder replied without elaborating.
A Somber Warning
ERNC Sub-District 4 Director Peter Hilton warned Ryder to be careful in how he goes about shuttling passengers to marijuana collectives, in light of Monday’s crackdown in Oakland by federal authorities on Oaksterdam University, a training school for cannabis collectives, and the home of its founder, Richard Lee.
On March 22, American Eagle Collective, a prominent marijuana dispensary located on 2501 Colorado Blvd., shut down abruptly, leaving even the facility's landlord in the dark about its sudden closure. (AEC is one of three marijuana facilities in Eagle Rock that are targets of lawsuits by the City Attorney’s office.)
Federal authorities, suggested Hilton, have begun to target organizations peripheral to the activities of marijuana collectives. “They’re coming after ‘supplementals’ who are furthering activities,” said Hilton, adding: “You may be furthering the conspiracy—I’m just saying you have to be very careful.”