By Doug Oakley
The Berkeley City Council unanimously passed a plan this week to help get medical marijuana to patients if Drug Enforcement Administration raids' shut down any of the city-permitted dispensaries. The resolution passed Tuesday night declares Berkeley a sanctuary for medical marijuana users and distributors and commits the city to "uphold patients' rights to safe access to medical marijuana" should the DEA move on one of two dispensaries in town.
What that means is up to debate at the moment, but the city would at least help a new distributor get started or help one restart after a DEA raid, council members and activists said. The DEA has shut down five medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area in the past year.
Tuesday night's item originally called for the city to get into the business of selling marijuana itself if the DEA clamped down, but that language was watered down after objections were raised from Berkeley police and the city manager. Pat Crossman, 77, who uses medical marijuana for disintegrating disk disease and arthritis, urged the council to pass the resolution. "I'm a senior citizen, and I would be very upset if the feds came in and busted us and frightened us and stopped what (the distributors) are trying to do here," Crossman said.