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California Cannabis Banking Bill Stalls

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Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest operating dispensaries in the country, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in October. Originally launched in 1999 in a regulatory climate that did not allow cannabis retailers, BPG’s solitary goal was staying open to serve the patients who so desperately needed its products. Since then, the company’s founders have fought on the front lines of the drug war, lobbying for policy reform in California and riding the wave of legalization and the rollout of the state’s regulated marketplace.

Here, BPG Co-Founder and Vice President Étienne Fontán discusses the dispensary’s origins, its founders’ passion for cannabis and their fight for patient access.

Cannabis Business Times: How did Berkeley Patients Group get started 20 years ago, and what was the long-term vision for the company?

Photos courtesy of Berkeley Patients Group

Fontán co-founded the company alongside Jim McClelland, Don Duncan and Debby Goldsberry. Étienne Fontán: Berkeley Patients Group was founded by an AIDS patient by the name of Jim McClelland, along with Don Duncan and Debby Goldsberry. Jim at the time had worked with Jeff Jones at the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club, and upon them getting shut down, he had worked with Debby and Don and decided it was time to open up a dispensary in Berkeley. (Editor’s note: Goldsberry is a regular columnist for GIE Media’s Cannabis Dispensary. Read her columns)

Source: https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/california-cannabis-banking-bill-stalls/

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