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CA city dispensaries may have to give marijuana to poor, homeless

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A proposed law in Berkeley, CA, seeks to grant free marijuana to patients who lack the money to pay for it. (Source: KPIX/CBS) A proposed law in Berkeley, CA, seeks to grant free marijuana to patients who lack the money to pay for it. (Source: KPIX/CBS)

BERKELEY, CA (KPIX/CBS) - If the Berkeley City Council passes a new law, marijuana dispensaries will be forced to distribute the drug to low-income and homeless people.

Darryl Moore is the Berkeley city councilman behind the free pot plan.

It mandates dispensaries set aside 2 percent of the cannabis they sell each year and give it to low-income patients for free.

Not only that, it has to be the same high-quality marijuana given to regular paying customers.

"Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana," Moore said. "Medical cannabis can be very expensive. We think this is the responsible thing to do for those who are less fortunate.

The Berkeley Patients Group already gives out free cannabis to the poor and has for 15 years.

"We've found out over the years is one of the cruel realities is that when you get sick and you have a serious illness is that it's often hard to keep a job, to keep your income up, so those people really need the help the most," said Sean Luse of the Berkeley Patients Group.

After randomly sampling a dozen people, only one disagreed with the idea, but with a provision.

"It's a big deal because it could get into the wrong hands," said a woman named Karen. "If it's doctor-prescribed, and it's really the only means they have, then I don't have anything against them."

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