Berkeley Patients Group, the largest of Berkeley’s licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, is providing consulting services to the company that won licenses for half of the newly permitted dispensaries in Maine.
SF Weekly reported today that BPG had in fact invested “over $100,000” in the Northeast Patients Group. According to Brad Senesac, director of communications for BPG, the relationship is purely an advisory one and no investment was made. Senesac said that Northeast Patients Group spent over $100,000 in setting up and submitting its applications in Maine, but BPG did not provide any funding.
A glimpse at the website of the Maine non-profit shows a strong visual similarity between the two organizations. Becky DeKeuster, CEO of Northeast Patients Group, is a former general manager of BPG who returned to her native Maine last year. According to Senesac, the board of Northeast Patients Group will be comprised entirely of Maine residents and will have no connection to BPG. DeKeuster did not answer calls from Berkeleyside today.
However, the Northeast Patients Group will start paying BPG for consulting services within the next few weeks, according to Senesac. He and others at BPG will advise on where to locate the four new Maine dispensaries, how to handle media and outreach, and other matters. No contract has yet been drawn up, so Senesac could not put a dollar value on the relationship. Any profits made on the consulting services will return to BPG and help pay for operating expenses, he said.
BPG and Berkeley’s other dispensaries are under the spotlight as the City Council considers tomorrow placing two amendments to the current medical cannabis regime on the November ballot.