The Berkley, California City Council voted unanimously last week to require dispensaries to give away at least 2% of their cannabis for free to “low-income” individuals, with low-income being defined as anyone making under $32,000 a year, or families making under $46,000 a year.
Deborah Sadler, General Manager of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkley, one of three dispensaries currently operating in the city, tells us that they’re fully in support of the council’s vote, and that it won’t effect the way they operate; “We have always given back well over 2% of our cannabis for free”, says Sadler. “We have a cancer-chemo compassion program that provides patient undergoing any type of chemotherapy 100% of their medicine for free, we offer people that have seizures and chronic pain 100% of their CBD medication for free and we have a low-income compassion program where we give individuals a 2 gram allotment each week”. Sadler says she believes the most important part of being a dispensary is being part of the community, and “being part of the community means doing outreach.”
Sean Luse, chief operating officer of the Berkley Patients Group, shares a similar opinion; “We certainly welcome the city mandating that all dispensaries create these sorts of programs”. Luse says that the group has hosted programs for low-income patients in the past, though they’ve typically given away 1% of their cannabis for free, half of the required 2%. The council’s initial plan would have set the number at 1%, but it was increased shortly before being approved.
The council also voted to approve a fourth dispensary in the city.