Berkeley’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Required to Engage in Charity Care

Berkeley California has been agonizing for years about whether to authorize a fourth medical marijuana dispensary within city limits. The City Council's deliberations on this are always interesting, particularly involving the distinction between coops and dispensaries and the grandfathering in of certain entities. So, whatever the number and configuration of Berkeley's medical marijuana facilities, more do appear to be in the offing.

What really caught my eye was the recent decision to require the dispensaries to offer a fixed amount of charity care (free medical marijuana to individuals)  – two percent of the facility's income — to individuals below a certain income level (one half the median Berkeley income or $32,000 for an individual). Aside from the medical marijuana connection, what is really remarkable about this is the relative clarity about who the deserving poor are and what each facility's fair share is. I say this because, all of the brouhaha surrounding revised IRS Form 990 Schedule H, still leaves other medical facilities pretty much to self-determine their fair share of charity care, as each facility so defines it. California's OSHPD is interested in this data as well.

Could it be that the medical marijuana industry shall lead them?

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