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Berkeley Law Mandates Dispensaries to give Free Marijuana to Poor Californians

Update Date: Sep 06, 2014 12:20 PM EDT

A new law passed in Berkeley, California will require marijuana dispensaries to give out free medical marijuana to poor residents. According to the new law, Berkeley residents who make less than $32,000 or families that make less than $42,000 a year will get their prescription marijuana free of charge.

"It's ludicrous, over-the-top madness," Bishop Ron Allen, head of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News. "Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?"

Berkeley City Councilmember, Darryl Moore, stated according to CBS San Francisco, "Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine."

Under the new law, which was passed unanimously, dispensaries are instructed to put aside two percent of their marijuana for people who need it but cannot afford it. The city council explained that since medical marijuana is now a prescription drug, people who need the drug should ideally be able to get it without burdening their finances. Medical marijuana can sell for up to $400 per ounce.

"There are some truly compassionate cases that need to have medical marijuana," The mayor of the city, Tom Bates told The New York Times. "But it's expensive. You hear stories about people dying from cancer who don't have the money."

According to many of the dispensaries in the city, this law will not affect them that much because they already have marijuana set aside for compassionate distribution. One of the city's largest dispensaries, Berkeley Patients Group have been giving out free marijuana to those who need it prior to the passing of this law.

The law will go into effect next summer in August.

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