Berkeley Votes to Bring Free Medical Pot to Low-Income Patients and Fox News Freaks Out [VIDEO]

Berkeley, Calif.’s poorest medical marijuana patients will be getting their weed for free from here on out, thanks to a unanimous vote by their city council. The vote mandates that dispensaries within the city donate two percent of their supply to patients with medical marijuana recommendations who make less than $32,000 a year.

Berkeley’s culture and policies have long embraced pot, and medical clubs dot its streets beside smoke shops. Berkeley’s city council has voted in favor of patient access many times in the past. The city has an ordinance in place making pot possession the lowest law enforcmeent priority, and when the federal government attempted to close down Berkeley Patients Group, the city’s largest dispensary, last year, the city of Berkeley fired back against the feds with a lawsuit

The move to give low-income patients access to free weed is the first of its kind in the US. The program will launch next August.

Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” freaked out over Berkeley’s vote in a segment titled “Welfare Weed.” Leading the uproar was Bishop Ron Allen, who heads the International Faith Based Coalition, and defending the Berkeley community’s democratic choice was Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Allen called the decision “absolutely mind-boggling and absolutely ridiculous,” asking such loaded questions as “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken underserved high, in poverty, and lethargic?” Allen apparently is unaware that medical marijuana comes in non-psychoactive forms and can mitigate the symptoms of cancer, epilepsy and other serious illnesses. Tvert pointed out that this was a democratic community decision:

“I think that we need to look at this for what it is. Medical marijuana is legal in California, and according to the polls 85 percent of Americans, according to Fox News’ last poll, support medical marijuana and it’s up to the community to decide if they’d like to have a program that allows low income individuals to have access to it. That’s really their decision. It’s a matter of the democratic process, people following the state’s laws, and this law appears to accommodate both of those.”

:[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"586522","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"font-size: 12px;","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.