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California City Mandates Free Medical Marijuana For Low-income Residents

  1. Mick Mouse
    Weed welfare?

    That’s what the Berkeley City Council in California has unanimously approved, ordering medical marijuana dispensaries to donate 2 percent of their stash to patients making less than $32,000 a year.

    The new welfare program in the liberal-leaning city is set to launch in August 2015.

    The ordinance, which passed in August and is the first of its kind in the country, comes at a time when several states are debating how to handle a growing movement to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

    But Berkeley's decision to effectively order weed redistribution is prompting a vocal backlash.
    Bishop Ron Allen, a former addict and head of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News he doesn’t understand why the California city would want to dump pot on the impoverished.

    “It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” Allen said. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”

    John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Narcotic Officers’ Association, agrees.

    “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,’” Lovell told The New York Times.

    But others, like Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, say it’s a community program.

    Tvert told Fox News that the decision to provide the drug to some of its low-income residents is up to the community.

    “So it’s a matter of the democratic process, people following the state’s laws, and this law appears to accommodate both of those,” he said.

    California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana nearly 20 years ago.

    California dispensaries are prohibited by law from turning a profit. But some places have been giving pot away to patients who couldn't pay for years.

    One of Berkeley’s largest dispensaries, Berkeley Patients Group, has been doing it for a decade, The New York Times reports. One recipient, Arnie Passman, a poet and activist, said he’s couldn't remember exactly how long he had been given medical marijuana or why.

    “It could be for my allergies, or my arthritis -- you know what happens to us folks: We forget,” Passman, 78, told the newspaper.



  1. (NS)-M-Lo-Reason
    This sentence is amusing in so many ways...

    "One recipient, Arnie Passman, a poet and activist, said he’s couldn't remember exactly how long he had been given medical marijuana or why."

    I agree with the Bishop (wow, there's a sentence I never thought I'd say). While I like the idea of trying to help those in need, I don't see why this particular idea is helpful or well thought out.

    If they want medicine given freely to the poor I think that's fantastic, but to selectively give weed to medical patients (let's face it, you can get an "Rx" for marijuana now with $100 and a sunburn, the system has been a joke for so long, and with there actually being legitimate uses for marijuana this is a bad thing. Legalize it or treat it like a serious medicine, which it is) marijuana, and not other medicines which may be more important.

    I think the generation that is taking over the country now has a view of weed as an herb that inspires James Franco, and not a drug deserving of respect. I also think that there is a LOT of money under all of the major moves that marijuana has made in the past 20 years, and as soon as it's legal I can bet that the industry that pops up will have all of the same ethical failings as the tobacco or alcohol one. Studies will be suppressed, lobbyists will influence policy in their favor, and the preparations they come up with will be made more efficient, culminating in marijuana mulch being extracted and have it's CBs reapplied.

    I am very cynical of all of this, and the view of marijuana that is the prevailing one I think is a problem not only in that it discourages looking at it as a sedative/stimulant/hallucinogen. It also makes people afraid to admit they want to quit to friends. Everyone supports you when you want to stop shooting up, but tell your buddies you don't want to smoke and you get the peer pressure from an after school special verbatim.

    "C'mon dude... It's just a little weed..."

    That irritates me. I have seen the stuff cause pretty serious problems, usually with people predisposed to mental illness, but these days who can say they aren't?
  2. tidruid
    I actually don't know how I feel about this. I am all for public assistance for those who are in need..but free weed?
  3. Mick Mouse
    it is called liberalism, and is the curse of a free society. Seriously though, it sounds like it will end up being similar to the food stamp program.....a good idea gone horribly wrong. Although as a MMJ user, I have no problem with those who would like to give me free medicine! But I don't think it should be mandated by the government. That would be like telling Ford and GM that they now have to set aside 2% of all the vehicles they sell to give to those who have no vehicle!
  4. Name goes here
    I'm technically an independent politically, however I tend to lean toward conservative views for financial issues. Weed isn't hard to grow and if shops decide on their own to subsidize some of their patients, more power to them. Why are we the tax payer going to subsidize a drug that health insurance will not (yet) cover.

    For cancer patients who absolutely need it and cannot afford it, I would support a tax break incentive to the shops to discount for those people. I'm really opposed to the government paying for drugs that doesn't directly save lives. I pay for my health insurance to cover my doctor prescribed medications, use my hard earned cash for things like ibuprofen and cold medications which I also need. Why should weed be free to the poor when no other drugs are?
  5. rawbeer
    ^^^ Exactly, I have never heard of any other drug being given out free like this beyond flu shots, and that is obviously done in everyone's interest. Giving out free weed will not improve general public health like free flu shots. This honestly sounds like a paranoid right winger's nightmare of liberalism gone wrong. Next up, "Schoolchildren now required to drop acid on first day of class."

    I wouldn't have a problem with all medicine being given out free to anyone who needs it. But Medical Marijuana is sort of a joke and everyone knows it, so for it to get special treatment is just an extend punchline. Yes there are people who legitimately need it, they probably make up about 5% of MMJ patients. Of the many "patients" I met in Colorado not a single one of them had a serious medical condition. They were all young white kids from affluent backgrounds who moved to Colorado to smoke weed, climb rocks and attend festivals.

    I fully support across the board legalization of many drugs, but the way the marijuana movement is going now just irks me. This is a very powerful drug. (NS)-M-Lo-Reason makes some great points here, I don't need to repeat them. There is just as much glossing over of weed's negative effects by its advocates as there has been with more dangerous drugs like booze and tobacco in the past. I'm sure a lot of these advocates literally believe everyone on Earth should be fucking baked 24-7, not due to any sort of vice or greed, out of their own stoned naivety. But I'm sure plenty of greed-mongers support the same idea for the exact same reason the same type of people wanted us all smoking 2 packs a day in years past.
  6. Dr. Amapola
    Free Weed for Berkeley's Poor!?

    That's an excellent analogy! However this is one heck of an issue for me to take sides on because I see good and bad on both sides of the coin. On one side:

    Certainly one can make the case that although MMJ is absolutely effective for treating all kinds of legitimate health conditions, it is by no means essential for life. The main issue here is that impoverished people need more money, period; and the leaders of the city of Berkeley need to help them get it! Giving these folks cannabis is a nice sentiment and may very well make them a little happier; it's still a bad idea because it takes the focus off of far more important things when it comes to impoverished citizens. Why not first help these people get [better] essentials like housing, transportation, clothing, and food? If anything, like (NS)-M-Lo-Reason said, giving "poor" people cannabis is just going to make them all tired and less likely to want to get-up and work. Also, it seems probable that many of the people in that < $32K per-year demographic will seek-out a medical marijuana license simply because they know they can get it for free; not good!
    The Berkeley City Council might have had good intentions at first with this idea, who knows? All I can say is (IMO) certain people should definitely have cannabis available to them; those with terminal illnesses and diseases with chronic symptoms which don't allow them to function normally in society; those people deserve to at least have it subsidized or paid-for just like their other medications. However, lumping together everyone in the city who makes less than $32K per year and saying they shouldn't have to pay for cannabis seems like haphazard and reckless leadership. Not to mention it will burden the dispensaries who are already contending with so much red-tape and flak from all opposing sides.

    On the other side of the coin:

    In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, I've noticed some very ugly stuff happening with medical cannabis. Now that doctors are finally writing prescriptions for folks who need it, they get to the dispensary only to see that they will often have to pay up to 20% MORE for the legal cannabis than the black market cannabis which they're used to buying. What's worse, the black market cannabis strains are literally the same products that the dispensaries are selling! What a terrible state of affairs!
    After years of waiting, hoping, praying, begging, and finally legislation and lawmaking, we finally get medical cannabis here and nobody can afford it. I'm not sure if the same issue exists in California (I doubt it's as expensive, at least) but here the pricing is absolute ludicrous. Also the dispensaries aren't paying Federal taxes, so the price is already through-the-roof even have their hands in the honey-pot yet!!

    *Please bear in mind: I have never been to California, and I do not know very much about the process of how one gets approved for medical marijuana there. Where I live, the criteria for MMJ is more strict. I am only giving my opinion on the matter.
  7. Mick Mouse
    Well, weed is not as easy to grow as you may think. It is certainly not as easy as tossing in some seeds and remembering to water once in a while! And I don't think we as taxpayers are really subsidising them, they have been "ordered" as a condition of keeping their license, to do this and are not getting any kind of return from it, other than the supposed goodwill. And health insurance will not cover it because of federal scheduling, just like banks won't deal with dispensaries because of RICO, even though it is lawful on the state level. Although many dispensaries have taken this matter into their own hands, as have some states. For instance, Colorado will waive the application fee for your card, as well as state taxes, on MMJ if you fall under the federally-mandated minimum poverty limits. For us here, the MMj tax is a little over 8%, while the recreational tax runs from 10 to 35%. Plus, the dispensary I use will knock off an equivelant amount equal to the state tax if you are a member. So it is possible to purchase tax free and with an 8% discount because of medical issues.

    Not free, but when you are on disability like I am and your med bill is several thousand a month, every percentage point helps!

    St Dismas Novitiate added 12 Minutes and 35 Seconds later...

    Actually, many drugs are given out "free". Of course, the bill is ultimately borne by the end consumer, but that doesn't change the fact that many drugs are free.

    "If you are having trouble paying for your medication, Astra-Zenica may be able to help". You can insert any drug manufacturers name there, but, yes, they will give you freebies if you need them.

    Drugs for children under 18 are free, unless you can afford to pay for them. Many drugs for the elderly and/or the poor are free. At least to them! And while I agree that the entire MMJ environment has become more like the wild west, that is changing slowly. And it is just as much a joke as is medicare and medicaid, foodstamps, and every other government entitlement program we have.

    But yeah, we have a lot of bad press for young yuppies who just want to get high, I will be the first to agree with that as well. In this area, the pendulum has finally swung the other way, but it is just as out of balance now as it was 25 years ago. Eventually it will stabilize and become just another government regulated program.
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