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Berkeley to Offer Free Medical Marijuana

Berkeley to Offer Free Medical Marijuana

Oh, California.

Berkeley has gone full California with its latest decision requiring medical marijuana dispensaries to give away at least 2% of their product to low income patients making less than $32,000 a year.

The ordinance passed last month, and barring any hurdles will go into effect in August 2015. Reactions have been predictably mixed:

Bishop Ron Allen, a former addict and head of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News he doesn’t understand why the California city would want to dump pot on the impoverished.

“It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” Allen said. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”

John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Narcotic Officers’ Association, agrees.

“Instead of taking steps to help the most economically vulnerable residents get out of that state, the city has said, ‘Let’s just get everybody high,’” Lovell told The New York Times.

But others, like Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, say it’s a community program.

Tvert told Fox News that the decision to provide the drug to some of its low-income residents is up to the community.

“So it’s a matter of the democratic process, people following the state’s laws, and this law appears to accommodate both of those,” he said.

California dispensaries are prohibited by law from turning a profit, and some proprietors have already embraced the new program in one way or another. California legalized medical marijuana 20 years ago, and some dispensaries made the choice years ago to willingly donate portions of their product.

Whether or not legalizing medical marijuana is a good or bad idea is beside the point. The state of California has already mandated that the legal trade of medical marijuana isn’t permitted to actually make proprietors any money, and now the city of Berkeley wants to force them to give their product away—even though some shops have already made the business decision to do it on their own.

Berkeley claims that the purpose of this program is to ensure equal access to a medicine that lawmakers have decided is appropriate for mass use.

Almost anyone with $40 to spare can find a doctor who will prescribe cannabis to treat insomnia or migraines or low appetite or something else (but especially insomnia).

Yet, because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, insurance companies refuse to cover such treatments, which can run to hundreds of dollars per ounce for designer strains like All Star Sonoma Coma at local dispensaries.

The Obama Administration set the standard for redistribution of medical treatment with the Affordable Care Act, and it’s clear that dispensaries in Berkeley have set a standard in their community that encourages proprietors to distribute their product without charge.

Leave it to a progressive bureaucracy to tell an already generous community that their charity isn’t good enough.


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When has the government, in the past six years, cared about a “democratic process.” Voters are being overturned by judges constantly, there is evidence of voter fraud not being investigated, etc.

Also, giving marijuana to low-income people? I’m with Bishop Ron Allen on this one. It may also breed crime in those areas. If you know someone has it, go take it, right?

Far out man.
Whers Berkly?

“Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”

Probably because they intend to over serve them with benefits to take them out of poverty. Not that they’ll have to work or anything like that. In fact, being high and lethargic is perfectly OK, as long as they support the Berkeley City Council.

    Estragon in reply to fmc. | September 5, 2014 at 12:22 am

    But for some odd reason, the cash value of “free” government benefits are never included in “income” calculations.

    Oh, if a rich uncle allows me to use his beachfront condo for a month, IRS will demand I declare the benefit of income but if I can qualify for SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, free daycare, free cell phone, and free pot, none of it counts as income.

    And if I can get in on the biggest scam of all, the Earned Income Tax Credit, even that free cash isn’t taxable income for next year or counted against qualifying for federal or state benefits.

What about the free Cold Duck and cheap vodka…???

This ain’t right.

“Was and will make me ill,
I take a gram and only am.”

Makes perfect sense. This is right out of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, “Brave New World”. The “alpha’s” & “beta’s” of the Berkeley City Council are using weed as Huxley’s “Soma” to keep the inferior castes (“Gamma”, “Delta” & “Epsilon”) in their place.

California dispensaries are prohibited by law from turning a profit …..

So why would ANYBODY want to get in this business? [I guess I left myself open for that one]

    Sanddog in reply to walls. | September 4, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    In a place like California, everyone and their dog are eligible for cards so you have a never ending stream of customers. You pay yourself and your partners a hefty salary and you get all the pot you could possibly want to smoke.

      Estragon in reply to Sanddog. | September 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Of course, they can only enforce the “no profit” rule on the sales they can track. Off-register cash sales seem a likely source of income, as can shrinkage.

      And the tried and true rule of contractor kickbacks helps, too – hire your friends at inflated fees of which they rebate a portion.

      And if you sample enough – gotta keep up on your product knowledge, ya know – I bet you could come up with lots of creative ideas to make money without showing a profit.

      Freddie Sykes in reply to Sanddog. | September 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      I seem to recall that Michelle Obama was paid a mere $316,962 a year by the non-profit University of Chicago Hospital for the essential job of community outreach. The hospital did not bother to replace her after she became the FLOTUS.

This story is not accurate. Berkeley dispensaries have always given a certain percentage of product free of charge to low income folks who qualify. This is the spirit of Prop 215 which authorized collectives not profit generating dispensaries making millions. Without going into a lot of detail I will tell you this latest legislation is the result of the city council finally putting a limit on the number of dispensary permits and applying enforceable operating standards to control for nuisance. I am neither a pot user or a fan of Berkeley city government but for several years I was the care partner to my youngest siblings stricken with young onset PD. Unable to work he was living in poverty on SS disability. His Kaiser neurologist encouraged pot use to reduce pain, spasm, anxiety and insomnia, essentially the daily life of those suffering with Parkinson. Obviously for-profit dispensaries tend to favor paying customer needs. So after a couple of years of witnessing mistreatment and problems I advocated for changes to this program protecting the rights of the truly sick and needy, the folks prop 215 was meant to help. I also led the neighborhood effort to shut down two illegal dispensaries and reduce drug dealing around the high school. Where was Bishop Allen during those battles?

OK go back to Berkeley and Prog bashing now…..

Next, we need to demand that every hotels and restaurant, no matter how swank, reserve 2% of their rooms and meals for the homeless and hungry.

Make mine the Presidential Suite and the Chateaubriand served with a cheeky little Grand Cru Bordeaux.

    jayjerome66 in reply to Freddie Sykes. | September 5, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Ah, whimsical exaggeration, how quaint.

    In that spirit, wouldn’t the most appropriate reserved room for you be a lavatory?

    A lot of seriously ill people rely on medical marijuana, for pain, for nausea, etc. And they can’t afford full price.