Free weed for low-income patients is now the law in the city of Berkeley, California. How cool is that, eh? Starting July 1st the city will require medical marijuana dispensaries to give away two percent of the amount of cannabis they sell each year to qualifying patients. And we’re not talking schwag, according to a new section of the Berkeley Municipal Code “Medical Cannabis provided under this Section shall be the same quality on average as Medical Cannabis that is dispensed to other members.”
That’s not all, during Tuesday’s meeting Berkeley also decided to amend the city’s medical marijuana rules and allow a fourth dispensary in Berkeley. Residents voted for Measure T in 2010, which called for a fourth dispensary. Originally the Medical Cannabis Commission had recommended that Berkeley open six dispensaries to meet the demand, but council members decided that was too many, too fast. And recently Mayor Tom Bates said the political environment, with the federal government cracking down on medical marijuana operations, made it too uncertain for Berkeley to go forward with an additional dispensary. However the other councilmembers felt the city had taken a long time to approve the fourth dispensary and it shouldn’t be postponed any longer.
“Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore.
Tuesday’s discussion also revealed some interesting information about the shape of Berkeley’s medical marijuana community reports the Berkeleyside—While current law requires all collectives to have business licenses, only one collective has gotten one, according to Elizabeth Greene, the planner who staffs the Medical Cannabis Commission. While no one knows exactly how many collectives there are in Berkeley, City Councilman Kriss Worthington said he knows of “a couple hundred collectives.” He said he thought they had not gotten business licenses because they are so informal.
“Most are social networks; they don’t operate as businesses,” said Worthington. “They hang out together and one or two of them grow and share it with the social networks. It’s very informal. It’s not a business. They’re not trying to get rich. They are trying to take care of one another.”
Taking care of one another aligns with the spirit of Tuesdays changes to the medical marijuana landscape in Berkeley—free weed for those in need.
Do you think your city should kick-down medical marijuana to those who can’t afford it? Let us know in the comments.
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