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Berkeley City Council Public Hearing To Decide If Amoeba Be Granted Permit for Berkeley Compassionate Care Center (BC3)

Posted by Billyjam, May 10, 2016 01:39pm | Post a Comment

Cue Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night."  Tonight, Tuesday May 10th 2016, at 7pm, in Berkeley CA the City Council will meet for a very important public hearing. There the future direction of Amoeba Berkeley will be determined when it is decided if the longtime East Bay record store, that first opened shop on Telegraph Avenue back in 1990, will be awarded the single new City permit to open and operate the Berkeley Compassionate Care Center (BC3) medical marijuana dispensary. BC3 is one of five finalist applicants at tonight's hearing where community participation is encouraged. All are invited to attend this public hearing in Berkeley at 1222 University Ave. (between Curtis and Bonar). People will begin to arrive at 630pm outside for meeting that begins at 7pm, with dispensary topic scheduled for 8pm and expected to run til 10pm to accommodate speakers from the community.

In case you have not heard or read the many articles written on the topic, for the past four years Amoeba Music Berkeley has been quietly and tirelessly fighting to expand into the area of compassionate care. The goal is to dedicate the jazz room section of the Telegraph Ave. store and transform it into the Berkeley Compassionate Care Center (BC3).  This all hinges on tonight's public hearing for the much coveted, sole permit to be granted from the City of Berkeley. BC3 will face off against four other finalists for the opportunity to, in addition to good music, offer compassionate care. Longtime Berkeley community members familiar with Amoeba's rich history as part of the local cultural fabric, consider BC3 to be the most qualified candidate of the five applicants. 

In light of the announcement yesterday that  popular longtime New York City music spot Other Music would be shuttering its doors for good next month (one of Manhattan's few remaining record stores), the importance of Amoeba Berkeley gaining this permit is vital. As noted by Amoeba co-founder Marc Weinstein, "We are trying to "diversify" in order to keep Amoeba going. After 26 years on Telegraph, business has slowed and we feel [that] this is one "product" we greatly believe in and this service represents a real human rights issue. It is also one business that the likes of Amazon.com cannot kill us for many years to come. As lifelong dedicated and creative retailers, we genuinely feel we are well qualified to create an outlet that Berkeley can be proud of." 

Amoeba Berkeley, who've been down with the community since day one, is part of the endangered species of independent local retailers. In Berkeley more and more national chains are opening up shop on the city's ever-shifting retail landscape. Examples abound. Further down Telegraph Ave. on a block toward campus sits a Walgreens and a Bank Of America where, in a bygone Berkeley timeline, local independent businesses once reigned. According to several reports, each of the other permit applicants at tonight's meeting are somehow associated with chains or bigger outlets from outside Berkeley, CA. That implies that their profits and donations would similarly be filtered to outside the area. In addition to continuing to give back to its city of two and a half decades via taxes and donations and sponsorship of countless grassroots community culural programs, Amoeba's proposed BC3 dispensary would also generate 40 new jobs for Berkeley.

Working alongside Amoeba co-founder Marc Weinstein in the prolonged bid for the BC3 permit is Debby Goldsberry. The pioneering cannabis activist, who would manage and oversee the proposed care center, has a rich East Bay history. It dates back decades to running a cannabis reform booth for NORML on Telegraph down the Avenue from Amoeba and, until five years ago, working with California's original legal cannabis dispensary BPG (Berkeley Patients Group) that she was a co-founder of. Since then Goldsberry's moved on and over to Oakland where she is executive director at the independent alternative medicine  Magnolia Wellness center. Additionally she is a professor, teaching dispensary operations at Oaksterdam University. Lately a lot of Goldsberry's time has been sunk into the long legal fight for a BC3 permit from the City of Berkeley.

In advance of tonight's City Council meeting Goldsberry told the Amoeblog: "BC3 is the most highly qualified candidate for the dispensary permit. We are long standing members of the Berkeley community, with a proven history of not only retail and dispensary experience, but of giving back to the city in terms of providing livable wages to staff and nonprofit donations to local organizations. We are the only candidate supported by both our local neighborhood property owners association, and are a union supported organization with UFCW."

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Tonight's Berkeley City Council meeting (Tues May 10, 2016) is a public hearing and open to all.
It takes place from 7pm - 10pm approx. in the School District Board Room of the City of Berkeley.
Enter at 1222 University Ave.(between Curtis and Bonar). People will begin to arrive at 630pm for
meeting that begins at 7pm, with dispensary topic scheduled for 8pm and expected to run a couple
of hours to accommodate community and applicant speakers. Directions Google Maps

Relevant Tags

Marc Weinstein (16), Berkeley Compassionate Care Center (1), Bc3 (1), Debby Goldsberry (1)