CALIFORNIA: Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), the nation’s oldest, continuously operating dispensary in the country, as well as the first dispensary in the Bay Area – and fifth in the state – to receive a temporary retail permit from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, will once again make history as it opens its doors to the adult-use market on New Years Day, marking a major milestone in California’s long, storied history of cannabis law reform.In recognition of the community that has stood behind the dispensary for nearly two decades, and in celebration of this watershed moment, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin will join BPG at 6:00 a.m. on January 1st to officially cut the ribbon launching BPG into the adult-use market.
“I’ve witnessed the tragic consequences of marijuana prohibition firsthand and am proud to represent a city that has been a leader and model example for regulation and reform in California as well as across the country. I support legalization 100%,” said Berkeley Mayor Arreguin. “I am thankful to have such a strong local partner and passionate team of activists at Berkeley Patients Group, a Berkeley institution. Not only does it epitomize how a responsible cannabis dispensary should operate, but also shows that legalization and cannabis business can have a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
Berkeley was one of the first cities in the nation to have a medical cannabis ordinance in place authorizing permitted dispensaries to operate within the City. BPG played a leading role formulating those ordinances through civic engagement, and community activism. The BPG team is made up of cannabis industry leaders, with over half a century of combined cannabis and advocacy experience. They have weathered many legal storms at the state and federal level over the last 18 years. Most notably, in 2016 BPG celebrated the dismissal of one of the most trying, high profile cannabis-related federal asset forfeiture cases in the nation. In fact, the City of Berkeley joined the case in support of the dispensary, officially challenging the charges brought by the Department of Justice.
Sean Luse, BPG’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “This historic occasion represents a culmination of dedication, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to social justice. We have been fighting long and hard to get to where we are today, and the significance of this moment cannot be overstated. We are honored to have the opportunity to further legitimize the cannabis industry while continuing to provide a first-class experience for our patients and introducing a broader base of adult consumers to the enjoyable qualities of cannabis.”