Free Pot for Poor and Homeless Begins in August

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 09:18 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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In an effort to ensure low-income and homeless residents have access to the same medical care as others, beginning next August, Berkeley, California, medical marijuana dispensaries will be required to donate 2 percent of their product to residents earning less than $32,000 a year for an individual and $46,000 for a family of four.

Berkeley’s City Council unanimously approved the measure this summer in order to provide poor people the opportunity to marijuana that sells for up to $400 an ounce, according to The New York Times.

The quality of the free pot must be the same as what’s sold in the dispensary, NBC Bay Area reported.

“It’s sort of a cruel thing that when you are really ill and you do have a serious illness ... it can be hard to work, it can be hard to maintain a job and when that happens, your finances suffer and then you can’t buy the medicine you need,” said Sean Luce of the Berkeley Patients Group.

Story continues below video.



Marijuana is used to treat a variety of maladies, such as pain, insomnia, low appetite, nausea, weight loss and muscle spasms. But since it is still illegal under federal law, health insurance doesn't cover cannabis.

Not everyone thinks offering free pot to low-income residents is a good idea.

“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 Times.



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