Berkeley Punts on New Pot Regulations



East Bay medical cannabis patients hoping for a fourth dispensary in Berkeley will have to keep waiting. Last night, Mayor Tom Bates motioned to delay until October a City Council hearing which would increase the number of dispensaries in the college town from three to four, or potentially six.

According to Berkeley medical cannabis commissioner Charlie Pappas, Mayor Bates said he wants to wait and see if the California legislature does more to regulate dispensaries this session.

Mayor Bates' motion “was sudden and surprising,” Pappas said.

The Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission has put two years of work into proposed updates to the town's dispensary rules. Waiting for the California Legislature “is just an excuse,” said Pappas. “I think that he's just status quo guy.”

Berkeley voters regulated local medical cannabis in 2008 with Measure JJ, which created permits for three legal stores: Berkeley Patients Group, the Cannabis Buyer's Club of Berkeley, and Berkeley Patients Care Collective.

In 2010, Berkeley voters passed Measure T, which increased the number of dispensary permits to four, but that fourth permit has not been assigned. Last night's Council meeting would have approved new rules to assign the fourth permit, and potentially more permits.