(East Bay Express) Medical marijuana industry leader Berkeley Patients Group of Berkeley will close its doors at the end of its business day today — and not re-open them. A receptionist there just confirmed the contents of an email sent to collective members this morning, stating: “Today is our last day.”
The total closure of the Berkeley institution would be the among the biggest, most significant blows to the California medical marijuana industry since the crackdown started last October. BPG is widely considered a model dispensary in a town that led the charge to regulate such businesses.
It also marks the federal evisceration of another thriving East Bay business that directly employed dozens of people, served tens of thousands of patients, and generated major tax revenue for local, and state coffers. Activists are going to be livid and the average person confused as to how this happened, given that medical marijuana is legal in California and BPG has a business license to operate in Berkeley.
First the IRS nearly shuts down Harborside Health Center. Then it raids and decimates Oaksterdam University. Now Berkeley Patients Group is no more.
The message from the Obama Administration couldn’t be clearer. They absolutely will not go after the doctors who are recommending and the patients who are using medical marijuana. However, if anybody tries to set up a professional, secure, regulated, non-profit, tax-paying enterprise to grow and supply cannabis to those patients or teach them to grow it themselves, Obama’s executive branch agencies, including ATF, CIA, DEA, FBI, HHS, ICE, IRS, and ONDCP, will be mobilized on every front to put them out of business.
For if there is one thing President Obama cannot have, it is well-run dispensaries putting lie to the notion that there is anything dangerous about retail cannabis access. Heaven forbid that jobs are created, taxes are paid, neighborhoods are revitalized, and thousands of sick and disabled people are provided a non-toxic, non-addictive, therapeutically-effective herb. People might actually start to believe such a system would work for healthy people as well!
Nope, in President Obama’s world, doctors and patients are free to use cannabis, so long as they get it from the Weed Fairy. Because he couldn’t possibly be expecting them to buy it from teenage drug dealers in the park or street corner, indoor personal growers of questionable skill and ethics, or the murderous Mexican drug gangs, right?