Berkeley, California orders free pot for poor patients

BERKELEY California Wed Jul 9, 2014 4:10pm EDT

Marijuana plants are displayed for sale at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

Marijuana plants are displayed for sale at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Anthony Bolante

Related Topics

BERKELEY California (Reuters) - A California college town known for its liberal activism has voted to make medicinal marijuana dispensaries give away free a small amount of their pot to the poor.

Berkeley City Council members voted unanimously late on Tuesday to instruct local outlets to provide marijuana equal to 2 percent of their sales to patients on low incomes.

"It's an equity issue," Council member Darryl Moore told Reuters. "We want to ensure that those who are in need have access to the medication necessary to treat their condition."

Under the law, which takes effect next month, the marijuana given away free must be of the same quality as that given to paying customers.

The rule defines low income as medical marijuana patients who make at most half the area's median annual income, or $32,000 or less for an individual or $46,000 for a family of four.

The council also amended its medical marijuana law to increase the number of pot dispensaries to four from three, and will consider upping that number to six next year.

Medicinal pot is a significant industry in Berkeley where the dispensaries paid nearly $640,000 in city taxes last fiscal year, according to official records.

Charles Pappas, a member of the city's Medical Cannabis Commission, said residents wanted to take care of each other.

"Our mantra is, 'The best medicine for the lowest possible cost for people in need,'" he said.

(Reporting by Mary Papenfuss; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (16)
TomMariner wrote:
None of you guys feign surprise! All of this stuff goes together.

If we can keep a straight face when a 30 year old “college student” / Democrat Activist demands totally paid for “sex without care” methods you’ve got more self-control than me and can suppress a snicker at this “benefit”.

Given the uber liberal mindset, how long do you think it will be before this local action finds its way into the “Healthcare” law as a Presidential- mandated federal right? Hey, you elected these folks.

Jul 09, 2014 4:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kkong164 wrote:
Hey! Tesla! You have to give away some of your cars to poor customers for free.

Can you say “illegal”?

Jul 09, 2014 5:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
alanwayne wrote:
The vast majority of medical marijuana users have no valid medical condition which requires them to smoke dope. Medical marijuana was sold to the voters as a treatment for Glaucoma, cancer, and AIDS. The people with medical marijuana prescriptions who actually suffer from one of those ailments is less than 1 percent of 1 percent. That’s less than 1 person out of 1000. The only ailment that the other 999+ people suffer from is an addiction to marijuana. They need rehab, not free access to their drug of choice.

Jul 09, 2014 6:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures