Marijuana Deadline: ‘The Patients Are All Nervous,’ Says Employee at Eagle Rock Pot Shop

As Thursday’s deadline approaches for medical marijuana storefronts to close, Eagle Rock Patch visits some local clinics to get a sense of the mood there.

It’s not easy to get André Soltani to talk about the medical marijuana industry, not least because he’s “adamant,” as he puts it, about not being identified with the Eagle Rock dispensary he helps run.

Soltani is not averse, however, to saying this much: “I think it’s unfair to people who want safe access—and to people who have been operating for so many years.”

Anyone following the highly contested medical marijuana debate would know instantly just what Soltani means by the words “unfair to people who want safe access” and “people who have been operating for so many years.”

The first phrase refers to the impending ban on medical marijuana storefronts, which goes into effect Thursday, likely making it difficult for those who need pot for medical reasons to procure it. And the second phrase alludes to clinics that have been catering to patients for several years now, including the longtime clinic that Soltani is part of.

Tall, muscular and blue-eyed, Soltani is an ethnic Armenian who emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark at the age of three. He’s concerned, he says, about the prospect that patients will suffer if pot storefronts are banned. Yet he insists he does not categorically support preserving the medical marijuana status quo.

“In a way I’m for it,” he explains, referring to the Los Angeles City Council’s efforts to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana. “Let’s clean up the bad guys and the neighborhood.”

In May 2012, the Los Angeles Police Department shut down American Eagle Collective, a major medial marijuana facility located at 2501 Colorado Blvd., citing narcotics-related charges filed by the District Attorney’s office. The storefront was occupied less than a month later by Together For Change, another pot clinic run by several employees from AEC.

Tim Ryder, a veteran Eagle Rocker who knows Soltani well, is always ready to clear any misunderstandings about pot clinics that might exist in the public eye. As the founder and head of Cannabis Clubs United With the Community, Ryder works with many clinics to help them improve their social image and function better in Eagle Rock.

Ryder took Eagle Rock Patch on a tour recently of the neighborhood’s dispensaries, hoping that at least some of them would talk to the media, thereby helping overcome some of the stereotypes about the clinics, particularly the idea that their presence contributes to incidents of crime that are said to not always show up in LAPD statistics because they tend to go unreported.

Several managers of the dispensaries that Ryder called on along with Eagle Rock Patch, however, refused flat-out to talk to the media.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that these clinics are shady—and Ryder made sure to press that point home. After visiting several clinics, he asked: “Did you see any crimes being committed?”

The only clinic where Ryder had any luck getting employees to open up to the media was Colorado Quality Pain Relief, a relatively recent storefront that relocated from Eagle Rock's main boulevard and opened on 4740 Eagle Rock Blvd., right next to a store where a massage parlor was busted in May 2011 by the LAPD for alleged prostitution.

We were greeted by a strapping African American man who had the build of a professional basketball player. But there was nobody around to answer questions, we were told. We asked the man what he thought might occur when the Sept. 6 deadline comes for pot clinics to shut shop.

 “Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” he said, looking genuinely concerned. “The patients are all nervous.”


Marijuana Deadline: ‘We’re Moving Forward with Enforcement,’ Huizar says

Regulating Pot Shops: Why one Neighborhood Council President Took on the Cause

Five New Marijuana Dispensaries Open in Eagle Rock

Duff Strong September 07, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Calling out Mr. Ryder, Mr. and Mrs. Grande like that? Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. Also, isn't there some sort of ethics rule your in violation of for slandering Mr. Ryder while you're president? 'especially for public safety' means you are directly opposing Mr. Ryder when there are many more unopposed seats in this election according to the link you provided. I'll be copying your comment and reporting it to the proper office today. Good day, sir.
Erykah Grande September 07, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I'd like to think of it as a very very VERY important .gif clip, if I say so myself. I mean, there is this clip showing Mr. Larsen for what he truly is: an ignorant on a power trip. EagleRockMom, did you fail to notice (however short) one of the security guards keeps his distance while maintaining a camera back on Larsen? Did you also fail to notice the fact that your almighty Larsen comes in pushy with his camera causing the guard to BACK OFF? Really? EagleRockMom, please. I hope you're not voting on the National Presidential Campaign using the same mentality. I show facts. If you can pull yours too, I'll be gladly open to view and discuss them. Speculation isn't getting this country anywhere.
Lightnapper September 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
OR-- Carrie Amelia Moore Nation meets the Salem Witch Trails-- alive, well, and now playing live in Eagle Rock. Daily Burnings at dusk. BYOB. Kindling and matches provided. And ERM-- hello and welcome to the fray-- again, although it has actually now become more The Theater of the Absurd than a logical debate. So how can I resist? Flying Too Low actually does reveal his identity in another MMJ Thread-- although I agree with your choice not to for security purposes. Flying Too Low is Hugh Yonn, and he wrote, "Shoulda Robbed a Bank," among other things. The Kindle edition is just $2.99 at Amazon.
Michael Larsen September 07, 2012 at 06:45 PM
My apologies Mr. Duff, you are absolutely correct. I should be encouraging candidates to run for ALL eligible offices, not just the Public Safety Director position that pot store advocate, Tim Ryder is running for unopposed. Thanks for correcting me.
Duff Strong September 07, 2012 at 06:54 PM
To Whom it May Concern: I am a resident of Los Angeles and I am formally filing an ethics complaint on Michael Larsen, current President of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. On the website, eaglerock.patch.com, Michael directly calls out a candidate to be opposed. Him being President, I feel it is an ethical violation to specifically note that the candidate, Tim Ryder, is unopposed and should be contested. Normally, this would pose no issue. However, according to the EmpoowerLA.org site, there are numerous seat that are, not only unopposed, but completely void of candidates. To state, the ERNC needs more candidates to run especially for Public Safety Director, is a direct attack to Mr. Ryder's candidacy. I have placed the comment and direct link to the article below. I've also attached a screenshot in case he decides to delete the comment prior to you reading this. Please take appropriate action to discipline Mr. Larsen. Thank you. <<link and comment redacted>>
Nelson R Grande II September 07, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Hello, Mr. Larsen, Above all else, I am Pro-Collaboration. I do not, and will not, stand for the complete shutting out of one demographic, which I feel has been all too common as of late. My goal as President of the ERNC is to communicate to as many Eagle Rockers as possible and to gather their opinions and ideas for a Collaborative solution, rather than a winner-take-all stance. I am proud to state that I am on Eagle Rock's 'Green' ticket. I am there because I share many of the same passions as others on said ticket. The 'Green' ticket is not synonymous with 'Pro-Marijuana'. Rather, 'Green', to most, stands for Nature as well as the respect for it. I have recently headed a Community Parkway Garden Project. I encourage you and everyone else to read about it at http://www.EagleRockTownHall.net, a site I also created. I also posted a blog about it here on Patch: http://bit.ly/OgjgGL To label me as simply a 'Pro-Marijuana' candidate is simply incorrect. I envision an Eagle Rock where all Eagle Rockers will have an equal say and will equally be represented, whether they stand on one side or another on any issue. As stated on my blog here: http://bit.ly/TsfNpB, "I will have access to an abundance of information and will, undoubtedly, make informed decisions. ... But, as a True Public Servant, I will always concede to all of you in the final say." I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding you had on my stance as Candidate for President of the Eagle Rock NC.
Michael Larsen September 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Mr. Grande, thanks for the clarification, but perhaps you should consult with your fellow "Green Slate" candidate, Tim Ryder, about his article in the current Boulevard Sentinel in which he characterizes you as the HEAD of the slate of "pro-medical marijuana activists" intent on ending the ERNC's stance towards regulation of the dispensaries, and encouraging marijuana business patrons to vote based solely on their status as customers "potentially increas(ing) the pool of voters by hundreds if not thousands of pro medical marijuana patients". (Boulevard Sentinel Sept. 2012 pg 18, http://bit.ly/OWPkvL) Has Mr. Ryder misunderstood your role in or the intent of the "Green Slate"?
Nelson R Grande II September 07, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Mr. Larsen, A very important part of the quote was left out. "A 'Green Slate' of COMMUNITY GARDEN ADVOCATES and pro-medical marijuana activists..." is what the sentence reads. I feel your partial quote misrepresents me and spins the truth. As for how Mr. Ryder and I understand one another is a matter between Mr. Ryder and myself. Mr. Larsen, you being a resident of Eagle Rock, I wholeheartedly appreciate and respect your opinion and position. However, I will not tolerate partial truths and deceptions. If we are to work together in the future, I suggest we both work with Collaboration as the primary goal. Thank you, Mr. Larsen.
Michael Larsen September 07, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Sorry Mr. Grande, I went back and re-read your blog entry announcing your candidacy here on the Patch; your candidate's statement on ERNC election site, and your campaign's Facebook page and couldn't find one mention of COMMUNITY GARDENS. Maybe I didn't read them closely enough. Good luck in the election.
Duff Strong September 07, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Nowhere on those things does it say he's pro marijuana either. so what's your point? You just can't stand the fact that you got severely burned by someone who's truly going to represent the people of eagle rock. Sit down, Mike. You know he's right.
EagleRockMom September 08, 2012 at 01:47 AM
@Erykah Speculation? You intentionally post an incomplete clip, get called on it, back peddle in your subsequent post and acknowledge you have seen the five minutes of footage from KUSH cameras, and still support your friends at KUSH when you have seen them initiate a physical and verbal assault against Mr. Larsen and the KCET film crew? While I don't appreciate your attempt at propaganda, I will say you are loyal at all costs to your pro-pot homies at all costs.
Erykah Grande September 08, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Get called out how so, woman? I never ever insinuated that I edited anything. I only posted the .gif, which was actually forwarded to me by someone who's judgement I trust, but if you want to discuss my trustees, then that's a separate conversation, email me if you'd like to have that conversation, "EagleRockMom". And glad to see your ignorant racial lingo come out. "Homie" huh? Tsk tsk tsk. I would definitely be very careful in putting out your real name now. I mean, I don't know if you've realized, <<whispers>> we are in Los Angeles, a town FULL of "homies". And, by the way, I'm loyal to all my causes, so if you ever find yourself on my opposing team, be weary. I tend to not be as diplomatic and respectful as my husband. So get off your high horse (probably Larsen), change your username and go see what else Larsen needs you to do.
EagleRockMom September 08, 2012 at 05:00 AM
@Erykah Since when did the use of the word "homies" become racist? Isn't it typically used to convey a sense of comradery amongst people regardless of skin color? That is my understanding of its application. It has nothing to do with socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. Nice diversion tactic, but we both know that you are intentionally not showing the entire several minutes of footage. Way to coerce your husband's potential constituents.
Erykah Grande September 08, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Look, Eagle Rock Mom, I'm not going to do this back and forth with some anonymous person. I don't have the other footage, I didn't make the .gif. If you want to discuss the content of the video, find it, post it, and we will. No coercion here. And about your choice of vocabulary, still stereotyping. The rest of us don't appreciate being stereotyped, especially by ignorants such as yourself. I hear Larsen calling, go fetch.
EagleRockMom September 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM
@Erykah I just noticed that both you and your husband are running for positions in the council. How unfortunate for Eagle Rock.
EagleRockMom September 08, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Hello Lightnapper. I took a break from posting because it had gotten to be somewhat stressful. Some folks are seriously mean-spirited! Anyway, I have returned for the time being. Good to see you. Time to debate.
Erykah Grande September 08, 2012 at 05:18 PM
We are. I got tired of taking a back seat. You should run, too. ;)
Lightnapper September 08, 2012 at 07:54 PM
@ERM. Well...don't let it get to you. It's all temporary anyway. Hope you read my rewrite of Waiting For Godot, on the other thread-- or, in this case, for the Burro of Mr. Jose M. (he resides in Glassel Park) taking me far south of the border where sanity is more in favor. That's one way to cope-- humor in the absurd; actually was my favorite theater, when I had the time to attend. Back in the late 80's LA had a lot of it. All other arguments aside, the face-eating cannibal comment took me over the top, so I just had to.... Washers leaking, so back to the hum drum reality of day-to-day life, and the dreaded Home Depot. AWWWW!
Nelson R Grande II September 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Duff, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. :) I'm honestly looking forward to working with Mr. Larsen. How about we all sit down...together?
Duff Strong September 08, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Ha! Yeah. Well hopefully you get him to stop with the outdated arguments. I'll lay off as soon as he lays off. Please, let's just get him out of there and you in there so we can all start talking some sense in this town.
EagleRockMom September 09, 2012 at 04:49 AM
@Erykah Here is KCET's "Reefer Madness" story which largely documents the MMD issue here in Eagle Rock. Much of the footage I described is contained within this piece, and actually opens with Soltani physically assaulting Mr. Larsen and the camera crew who were peacefully filming on a public sidewalk. http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/content/politics/reefer-madness-11021020112.html Enjoy.
EagleRockMom September 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
@Lightnapper Thanks for being cool.
Erykah Grande September 11, 2012 at 04:04 PM
EagleRockMom, thank you. For a while there you were really ticking me off, getting the best of me. Thanks for confirming my theory of your ignorance. By the way, I saw the video and only saw hands on cameras. Thanks. I hope people read our bickering and see you clearer than what they already see. I'm done with you. You are not worth my time. Perhaps, in the future, if you introduce yourself to me, using your real name, we can talk, like civilized women. Thanks for making my efforts to join the slate that much stronger.
Michael Larsen September 11, 2012 at 04:37 PM
WOW, "Thanks for confirming my theory of your ignorance." !???? "You are not worth my time." ???!!!! This coming from a candidate, Elva Grande, touting "Collaboration" and who "aims to echo every voice in Eagle Rock"? And she's running UNOPPOSED.... Sub-District 5 (and all of ER), we need more candidates! Sign up here before Thursday! http://empowerla.org/ernc/eagle-rock-nc-elections/
EagleRockMom September 12, 2012 at 04:10 AM
@Erykah I figured that would be your reaction. You played up your two second clip in a weak attempt to slander Mr. Larsen and score votes for your 'green' party, vehemently defending the questionable antics of KUSH employees. When footage that clearly depicts the absolute opposite of what you went on and on about, you clam up. Again, I am not surprised.
Erykah Grande September 12, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Mikey, EagleRockMom, we'll let my actions as Rep of Sub-District 5 define who I am as a Representative. My bickering was with this anonymous EagleRockMo[ther]. Now,Mikey, my dear, don't you have some other forum to annoy? EagleRockMom, it's a new time, catch up or stay behind. But I truly am done making attempts at proving anything to you. If I meet you in person one day, introduce yourself, maybe then, when I have you in front of me, we can discuss things factually and with an open mind. Forums are lame. Especially when the commentators refuse to expose themselves. I understand hiding over at some general site, but here, in the Eagle Rock Patch? C'mon. That's just silly. I saw the video. I hope the readers see it to. You're blind. Good day.
EagleRockMom September 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM
@Erykah You have still managed to say nothing. You keep dancing around the fact that your pals at KUSH will resort to any means to silence opposition. You haven't addressed Mr. Larsen and the camera crew getting physically accosted while peacefully filming on a public sidewalk. The footage clearly depicts this, and yet you say I am the one who is blind?
EagleRockMom September 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM
@Erykah I also noticed that you are prone to hurl insults when bested in debate in an attempt to silence your opposition, but then you say you you would work collaboratively with everyone if elected to council? How hypocritical of you. At least your husband (or brother, cousin, whatever) has the politician gait down. You ought to ask him for some pointers.
EagleRockMom September 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM
@Ken Camp What are you going on and on about? All you did was hurl a bunch of insults instead of declaring what your position is on MMDs. I suppose if you were looking to say a lot of nothing, you were pretty successful.
EagleRockMom September 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM
@Jose Lightnapper is alright but I do preserve my right to debate with him/her.


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