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Pot for the Poor: Berkeley city council considers free medical marijuana for low-income patients

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Pot for the Poor: Berkeley city council considers free medical marijuana for low-income patients
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Berkeley, CA (CNN) - Pot dispensaries in Berkeley, California could soon be required to give away some of their stash to the poor. The city council approved the ordinance Tuesday.


Darryl Moore - Berkeley City Councilman: "Basically the city council wants to make sure that low income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine."

Darryl Moore is the Berkeley City Councilman behind the free pot plan. It mandates dispensaries set aside 2% 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.

Darryl Moore: "Medical cannabis can be very expensive. And so we think this is the responsible thing to do for those who are less fortunate in our community."

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

Sean Luse - Berkeley Patients Group: "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, it can be hard to keep your income up, so those people really need the help the most."

We went looking for the other side; for someone who didn't think giving marijuana to the low-income and homeless was a good idea.

Karen - Works in Berkeley: "It's a big deal because it could get into the wrong hands."

After randomly sampling a dozen people, she was the only one who disagreed, but she added this.

Karen: "If it's doctor prescribed and that's all they can resort to or that's the only means they have, then I don't have anything against it."

An idea that may be highly controversial elsewhere isn't drawing too much opposition - or even attention on Berkeley city streets. The measure is expected to get final approval next week.