UPDATE: Berkeley Patient Group HAS RELOCATED AND REOPENED: 2366 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702
A few days ago the famous Berkeley’s Patients Group, aka The BPG, closed its doors—ending employment for seventy people and safe access to medical marijuana for 9,000 patients. Why? The Federal Government hates pot smokers. And so does Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California.
Late last year, Haag and her maverick cronies went on an anti-medical marijuana rampage and sent the landlords and owners of buildings housing dispensaries throughout the Golden State, a threatening letter stating federal prosecutors would file a forfeiture action if marijuana continued to be distributed at these locations—meaning, if they didn’t evict their tenants, the government would steal their property.
The threat-filled letter Haag sent to the BPG cited assorted federal law violations and pointed out that BPG’s location was within 1,000 feet of two schools: The Center for Early Intervention on Deafness and Cole Bilingual de Berkeley, a French bilingual grade school.
Despite being located closer than 1,000 feet to a pot club, Jill Ellis, executive director of the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness seemed supportive of the dispensary. She told California Watch: “They really have been caring, supportive neighbors, concerned neighbors, clearly very interested in our mission, our families. Their security provides a great asset and enhancement to our community. We’ve never had any incidents at all.”
But Haag isn’t trying to hear all that. She rebutted with, “People in the community may be supportive of the dispensary, until there’s an armed robbery and people come running out of the dispensary shooting guns.”
Worries over armed robberies don’t ever stop banks from doing their business, but, the BPG, which has been at their San Pablo Ave location since ’99, has been trying to relocate for the past three years to no avail. And according to a Feb. 28 agreement between BPG’s owners, their landlord and Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay, the “Berkeley Patients Group agreed to cease all cannabis-related activities and remove all cannabis-related property from the premises by May 1, 2012,” which, sadly they did.
Despite a nasty legal battle between two former employees, BPG’s co-founder and a senior manager, plus owing Uncle Sam hella cash—about $6.3 million in back taxes, interest and fees for marijuana sales from 2004 to 2007—BPG plans to move forward by launching a new medical marijuana delivery service set to begin later this month. Interested in signing up? Click here.
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