Berkeley’s largest cannabis dispensary to close May 1

The consumption lounge of Berkeley Patients Group, which will close its San Pablo Avenue location on May 1. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Medical cannabis patients in Berkeley will have a more difficult time getting marijuana after Berkeley Patient’s Group shuts down on May 1.

California Watch is reporting today that BPG has signed a legal agreement with its landlord, David Mayeri, to vacate the premises. The agreement came after Mayeri received a letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag warning him there might be financial or legal repercussions if distribution of cannabis did not cease at that location.

“Berkeley Patients Group agrees to cease all cannabis-related activities and remove all cannabis-related property from the premises by May 1, 2012,” a legal document filed Feb. 28 in Alameda County Court states, according to California Watch.

Berkeleyside reported yesterday that Mayeri had put his property at 2747 San Pablo Avenue up for sale for $2.55 million.


Officials from Berkeley Patients Group have repeatedly declined to confirm or deny that Mayeri had gotten a cease and desist letter from the federal government. They have also not commented on whether they have found a place to relocate. The dispensary, which moved into its current location 13 years ago, has been looking unsuccessfully for a new spot for a number of years. There are very few locations available that fit all the rules and regulations set out by the state and local governments.

The closure of Berkeley’s largest medical cannabis dispensary will put 75 people out of work and leave thousands of people with fewer options on where to find their medicine. Only one of the other two dispensaries in Berkeley – Cannabis Buyers Club of Berkeley on Shattuck – has space for people to consume medicine. The Patients Care Collective on Telegraph is small and does not have space for consumption.

Forty Acres, a cannabis collective that served hundreds of patients a week, was recently forced by the city of Berkeley to shut its premises on San Pablo Avenue. The collective was operating in a commercial district as opposed to a residential zone, as required by law. Berkeley also ordered Perfect Plant Patients Group, another collective operating in a commercial zone on Sacramento Street, to shut down but it is still open for business.

The closure could also impact local non-profits. Berkeley Patients Group is a generous contributor to local charities.

Cannabis plants for sale at Berkeley Patients Group. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

Charlie Pappas, who sits on the Medical Cannabis Commission and who was forced by the federal government to shut down his Divinity Tree dispensary in San Francisco last year, said Oakland dispensaries and cannabis delivery services will probably now see an uptick in business. The Oakland City Council voted this week to permit four more dispensaries to open.


U.S. Attorneys in northern California have been targeting dispensaries that are within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds. BPD sits closer that that to Ecole Bilingue on Heinz Street. It is also near the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness, another school.

Related:
Federal letter may make Berkeley Patients Group relocate [03.14.12]