If you can’t afford your medical marijuana and you live in Berkeley, California, starting next summer you could be able to get it for free. Participants need to have a medical marijuana prescription, be a resident of Berkeley and earn $32,000 a year or $46,000 per family. Those who are eligible can receive free pot from dispensaries throughout the city after the law goes into effect. The city council unanimously passed the measure. Although it was praised by city officials, others weren’t so happy with the results. , “It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” The head of The International Faith Based Coalition, Bishop Ron Allen told Fox News. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken, under-served high, in poverty, and lethargic?”
Supporters however point out that this is medicinal marijuana. Those who are poverty stricken should still have access to their medicine they claim. Berkeley Councilman Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco, “Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine.”
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The mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates went further, telling The New York Times, “There are some truly compassionate cases that need to have medical marijuana. But it’s expensive. You hear stories about people dying from cancer who don’t have the money.”
Despite the politicization of this issue, area dispensary owners say they already set aside some of their stock for compassionate, or free care. The chief operating officer of the Berkeley Patients Group dispensary, Sean Luse told Berkeleyside last summer, “We do this on our own, so we certainly welcome the city mandating that all dispensaries create these sorts of programs.”
Luse had one caveat. “I do think there could be problems if we’re oversupplying demand and giving away more cannabis than is legitimately needed,” he said. “We’ll see how this plays out.”