Free Medical Marijuana for Low-Income Patients in Berkeley Will be Required Under New Law

As the City of Los Angeles steps up enforcement of Proposition D and forces dispensaries out of business, the City Council in Berkeley is requiring dispensaries within city limits to give free marijuana to low-income patients. According to a recent CBS article, the new legislation will make dispensaries give two percent of the amount of cannabis they sell at no charge to indigent patients. This two percent will be based upon a valuation of year-over-year sales of each individual dispensary and not based upon citywide sales. The new law still faces final approval, but with strong support from city council, it seems likely that it will pass.

free.jpgSome dispensary owners have reportedly been dispensing free cannabis for years out of a realization that those who are sick and in the most desperate need for help are the least able to afford to purchase medical marijuana.

This new legislation will require that all marijuana provided under the free program be of the same quality that is sold to patients who can afford to pay and not leftovers or low quality product that would not otherwise sell. It does not appear that the council has outlined how the quality of the free cannabis will be assessed.

Under California law, medical marijuana may be sold to patients and caregivers who have been approved to purchase and possess cannabis and have been issued proper credentials. The law allows for the sale of marijuana for medical purposes at authorized dispensaries, collectives, or cooperatives. Some of these collectives are termed medical marijuana clubs. Regardless of the source of purchase, the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) will be required.

One of the main reasons for the constant changes being made to cannabis law is that, while the population on average is becoming increasingly accepting of medical marijuana groups, certain interest groups, federal agencies, and other such organizations are working equally hard to keep marijuana illegal.

Our California medical marijuana lawyers understand that patients, growers, and dispensary owners and their employees have a hard time knowing what is and what is not legal in the fluid environment of cannabis legislation.

In addition to facing civil penalties and loss of business, many still face criminal charges for running afoul of some of these confusing regulations. Sometimes, police will target the employees of “unauthorized” dispensaries when they have been unsuccessful at closing the business through regulatory means.

While the facts of every situation are different, whether you are a patient, grower, dispensary owner, employee, or patient caregiver, it is important to speak with an attorney who regularly represents people involved in the medical marijuana industry. This is not the same as a criminal defense attorney or family lawyer who also handles medical marijuana cases, but lawyers who have a real understanding of the current state of California Medical Marijuana Law.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation for those in the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles and elsewhere throughout Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Berkely Plans to Provide Free Weed for Low income Patients, June 2, 2014, CBS Local
More Blog Entries:

Should California Medical Marijuana Distributors Be Subject to Food Safety Laws?, June 22, 2014, Cannabis Law Group’s Medical Marijuana Legal Blog