Mixed reactions as Berkeley mandates free medical marijuana for low-income patients

"Low income citizens deserve it," says paying medical marijuana patient of law requiring dispensaries to donate weed to those who cannot afford it.

By Matt Bradwell

BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The city of Berkeley has mandated marijuana dispensaries donate at least 2 percent of their inventory to low-income patients, effectively offering free medical marijuana to the city's under-privileged.

Passed in July, the measure requires medical marijuana dispensaries to set aside the donated weed for customers earning less than $32,000 and is drawing equal parts praise and criticism.


"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,'" John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Narcotic Officers' Association told The New York Times.

"It's ludicrous, over-the-top madness," echoed Bishop Ron Allen on Thursday's edition of Fox News' FOX and Friends.

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

While sharing his prescription with a group of homeless men, medical marijuana patient Joseph Skyler told the Times he fully supports the measure.

"I believe in living a certain kind of lifestyle that's very stress free," the University of California undergraduate said. Sklyer has a medical marijuana prescription to treat insomnia.


"I've noticed that just from smoking, everyone calms down. These people deserve it. A lot of these guys have the same problems I have."

Berkeley's weed distribution law will take effect in August 2015.

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