“There’s always interesting entrepreneurial ideas and start up groups we hear about that often intercept with the work we do,” said Rachael Kagan, spokesperson with the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “It’s not unusual for us to request a meeting. Some are responsive and some are not. We get more curious when companies aren’t responsive.”
Eaze CEO Keith McCarty immediately set up a meeting with the Department of Health, because he was eager to respond to rumors that his technology services company was dispensing marijuana with delivery drivers.
"We met recently with the San Francisco Department of Public Health,” said McCarty.
Eaze is a technology service not a dispensary and the agency determined it was not necessary for Eaze to obtain a permit."
In addition to medical marijuana, the department of health also oversees with inspections restaurants, food services, animal control, environmental health and buildings.
“We didn’t see the need to permit Eaze because they are not a dispensary,” Kagan told MainStreet. “They are something like a connector. The function they serve is not to dispense marijuana themselves but to work with San Francisco permitted dispensaries.”
Since it’s launch in San Francisco this summer, Eaze Up’s technology helped dispensaries deliver marijuana to the homes of its medical users. Eventually, the CEO plans to apply Eaze’s delivery model to prescription drugs normally purchased at the local drug store.
“We don’t want to limit our scope to just medical marijuana,” McCarty told MainStreet. “A natural progression would be delivering pharmaceuticals from Walgreens to people’s homes. Once we get the distribution technology of medical marijuana under our belt, we’ll have a blue print for forging into other areas of healthcare.”
Until then, McCarty says he is busy addressing the media firestorm that was created by a journalist who misinterpreted information on Eaze’s website.
“We’re doing a better job now on our website to clarify that we don’t employ drivers,” said McCarty. “We screen potential drivers for dispensaries, but we do not touch marijuana at all. We are providing technology services that assist already existing dispensary drivers to home deliver.”
An article that posted August 11 claimed Eaze was employing drivers for $45 an hour and maintained a fleet of delivery cars.
“Eaze gathers the people who have indicated an interest in driving then we do background checks and verify they are a medical marijuana identification card holder that authorizes them to have marijuana in their possession, which could be for their own medical conditions,” said Caroline Vespi, a publicist with Eaze. "We equip them with a driver kit and technology so they know how to use the Eaze app but we don’t employ drivers, and we don’t have a fleet of delivery cars.”
McCarty added that Eaze is merely screening potential drivers for dispensaries.
“We didn’t expect the story to go global in 36 hours,” Vespi told MainStreet. “There were hits in Africa, and Asia and we got interest from investors once they read the story. It’s been nonstop since then in an exciting way.”
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet