The mood was somber Monday at Berkeley Patients Group as the 12-and-a-half-year old cannabis dispensary got ready to shut its doors.
After the Berkeley Patients’ Group’s plans to move into the old Sharffen Berger chocolate factory on Heinz and Seventh Street fell through in 2010, the medical cannabis dispensary turned its attention back onto its San Pablo Avenue home. If the organization, which serves hundreds of people a day, wasn’t going to be moving into larger digs, what could it do to make the experience better for patients?
After months of delay, Berkeley’s new Medical Cannabis Commission will meet for the first time on Thursday, ushering in, city officials hope, a new era of oversight and accountability.
Rebecca DeKeuster’s first job at the Berkeley Patients Group in 2004 was selling medical marijuana to patients for $14 an hour.
In a sign of the growing professionalization of the medical cannabis industry, Mark Rhoades and Ali Kashani, the owners of the Berkeley development company Citycentric Investments, have teamed up with Debby Goldsberry, a founder of the Berkeley Patients Group, to open a number of medical marijuana facilities around the East Bay.
By John C. Osborn
Berkeley residents will vote on two ballot measures on Tuesday that could lead to a greatly expanded medical cannabis industry in the city – and hundreds of thousands of new dollars for the city’s coffers.