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Sonoma County’s Mercy Wellness free medical cannabis program a team effort with Mendocino County grower, Oakland distributor

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Mercy Wellness is teaming up with an East Bay cannabis producer and Mendocino County grower in doling out free medicinal marijuana.

Under the “Compassion Donation” program, the dispensary company started giving away free cannabis last June at its Cotati location and three months later at its Santa Rosa retail outlet, which opened last May. Since mid-2021, the dispensary has donated about $50,000 worth of cannabis product.

The concept behind the compassion program came about from California Senate Bill 34, named the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act. It allows licensed retailers to provide free cannabis to medicinal patients or their primary caregivers, upon meeting specified requirements.

The bill authorizes those licensees to contract with a sanctioned “individual or organization to coordinate the provision of free medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products on the retailer’s premises,” the bill’s language reads. The bill, signed into law in October 2019, expires in five years.

“The whole effort was centered on compassion,” Mercy Wellness Director of Procurement Joe Sullivan told the Business Journal. “And the compassion program is a way to give back.”

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