MetroLink’s Route 70 Purple approaches Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in Milan to pick up and drop off passengers. Business at the medical cannabis dispensary has boomed so profoundly they are asking seasoned, educated customers to pre-order online to make for expedited pickup. The staff at NTI always makes itself available for consults to patients. There are many new patients arriving at NTI every week. Increasingly, they take public transportation, which rolls right past the front door of NTI every half hour. Warning: Unpredictable trains can radically affect MetroLink bus schedules in Milan at any time.
“Dong! Route 30 Green.”
So announces the MetroLink bus as it pulls up virtually right outside my back door. Riding the bus for me is so incredibly convenient, why wouldn’t I ride it?
It makes me giggle when I hear “Route 30 Green.” Because it occurs to me that when I ride the bus to the dispensary, I take The Green to The Purple.
Green as in The Plant.
And purple as in Granddaddy Purple, one of my favorite medical cannabis strains.
When I get to CityLine and change buses, I board the Route 70 Purple.
No questions off limits on public transportation
Even though the Illinois Medical Cannabis program is a few years old now, only recently has it gained such incredible momentum. Bus riders pepper me with questions about the dispensary, usually after hearing the drivers and I banter about it.
For starters, everyone seems to think I get my cannabis free, with a prescription. And that there is only one type of cannabis.
How would they know any different? It’s a strict program. To quote one Uber driver, “In California you can say, oh, my tummy hurts, and get a cannabis card.”
In Illinois, it’s much more difficult. But if you suffer from a debilitating health condition and that can include trauma-induced emotional hell, you may be able to show need for certification.
Of course, as I always say, I’m glad I had $600 on hand at the time – that’s what the process to obtain a three-year card costs. And a trip to Chicago.
You can learn all about the Illinois Medical Cannabis program at the Nature’s Treatment of Illinois website.
Bus instead of Uber? A free joint
I slowly have “come out” again as a proud public transportation user after selling my Prius. I told an old friend I ran in the other day at Jewel-T that I sold it. He says, “What, are you taking the bus?”
I replied, “Well, Uber.”
And I was taking Uber, and I still do. But mostly the bus.
It’s fun. You meet people, you see the same people every day, it’s a sense of community.
The bus’s ridership is very diverse. And how do you describe public transportation users in the Quad-Cities? On the Illinois side, for the most part they are courteous. The drivers are extremely courteous.
The buses are clean, but honestly, I think they need several new ones. They are getting rickety.
The cost of riding the bus? A buck. Transfers are free. So, it’s $2 roundtrip for me to go the dispensary, door-to-door service, I kid you not. Uber, on the other hand, is $14 plus tip.
I have to transfer at CityLine from The Green to The Purple. The Purple snakes through the UnityPoint Trinity health complex and Hy-Vee/Target/Kohl’s strip mall before crossing the Rock River into Milan.
It’s a bit out of the way for me, and it does take a considerable amount of time as compared to Uber. But, with that $12 savings I can buy a one-gram Cresco pre-rolled joint in strains such as Girl Scout Cookies, Pineapple Express, Bio Jesus, and many others.
New app: It’s just like Uber (but glitchy)
For reasons which would be obvious to anyone who has followed my story closely, I have avoided using the MetroLink bus app since beginning to ride the bus again. But I did recently install it, and it’s an entirely new app.
Check this out:
It’s a little glitchy. I have to reset my phone after each use or it doesn’t seem to know that I moved from my previous location. For example, I will get to CityLine (transfer point to The Green) and the app will still think I’m in Milan. So I either have to reset the phone or uninstall/reinstall and sometimes that doesn’t work either.
It may very well be my service. I’m working on that. Isn’t our cell and internet service always a work in progress, an ongoing headache, a reason to smoke medical cannabis?
If you work from home, or have a job that allows for a semi-flexible schedule (the buses are not always on time, but most of the time they are) I strongly encourage riding the bus.
Riding the bus also has eliminated any chance of my driving impaired under the influence of medical cannabis.
One day more than 10 years ago, I spent the day riding the Quad-City bus systems as a reporter for the Quad-City Times. I ran into dad’s neighbor and best friend, Audrey “Peaches” Phillips on the bus.
Until next time.
You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz
I also write about addiction and recovery (I live a sober life every day), medical cannabis (I am a legal cardholder), mental illness (I have chronic PTSD) and elder advocacy (I lost dad to FTD, a rare brain disease, and served many years as his caregiver; even jailed on no charges at all while doing so). I have quite a story to tell and I hope you will indulge me. I am frequently hired by news sites and top brands to create actionable content on all of the aforementioned topics. Thanks!