*Much to the chagrin of the more “straight-laced” community, those who may not be in sync with a lot of things going on in Berkeley anyway, a new benefit is being given to medicinal cardholders who live in the Northern California city once overrun by hippies and the ultra bohemian. The city council is making sure the low-income residents of the city get their medicine without having to concern themselves with money. According to the Huffington Post, starting next summer, Berkeley residents who earn less than $32,000 per year (or $46,000 per family) and have a prescription for medical marijuana will be able to get it for free from one of the dispensaries operating within the city.
Due to the unanimous passing of a recent law by the Berkeley City Council, dispensaries must set aside 2 percent of their pot for distribution to the poor.
Though the action comes with many supporters, there are still those who are not on board with the plan – not that their arguments don’t make sense.
“It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” says Bishop Ron Allen, head of the International Faith Based Coalition, to Fox News. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”
But supporters argue that marijuana is recognized as a legal medicine in the state of California (although not federally). And as medicine, people who need it shouldn’t be kept away from it due to lack of funds.
“Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” Berkeley City Council member Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco.
“There are some truly compassionate cases that need to have medical marijuana,” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates told The New York Times. “But it’s expensive. You hear stories about people dying from cancer who don’t have the money.”
Even with the controversy, there are quite a few dispensaries that say they don’t mind the new law as it won’t change much since they already set aside a certain amount of weed for compassionate (a.k.a. free) distribution.
“We do this on our own, so we certainly welcome the city mandating that all dispensaries create these sorts of programs,” Sean Luse, chief operating officer of Berkeley Patients Group dispensary, told Berkeleyside over the summer; though he adds that he thinks 1 percent, rather than 2 percent, would be a more appropriate target.
“I do think there could be problems if we’re oversupplying demand and giving away more cannabis than is legitimately needed,” Luse said. “We’ll see how this plays out.”
Yes, we will.