Haborside Health Center: Oakland Files Lawsuit Against Feds to Prevent Closure of Pot Club

Categories: Marijuana

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Harborside pot.jpg
Oakland isn't quitting smoking just yet

Oakland filed a complaint in United States District Court today in an attempt to stop the feds from shutting down the state's largest medical marijuana dispensary.

The feds are trying to seize the building along the Embarcadero where the Harborside Health Center is located. The pot club was operating legally under a permit issued by Oakland City officials until July, when U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag filed the paperwork to seize the property, effectively closing it down. Harborside is the city's second-largest retail payer.

See also: Feds Move to Close Harborside Health Center, California's Biggest Marijuana Dispensary

Harborside Health Center Patients Talk About Buying Marijuana on the Street

The city doesn't want money; it wants the court to put an end to Haag's crusade, which started last year when attorneys began sending letters to the landlords of selected California dispensaries. The letters warned of property forfeitures and stiff prison sentences if the dispensaries were not closed.

The complaint was filed this morning in San Francisco.

"The federal government has acted beyond its authority by initiating the forfeiture action outside of the statute of limitations," said Cedric Chao, the attorney representing Oakland in this case. "Moreover, the government has indicated for many years by its words and actions that so long as dispensaries and medical patients acted consistently with state law, the dispensaries would be allowed to operate. Oakland has reasonably relied on these assurances, and the government should be prohibited from disrupting Oakland's medical cannabis program."

As many of you already know, in 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, better known as the "Compassionate Use Act," which was intended to let seriously ill Californians get marijuana for medical purposes without worrying about jail time or criminal charges. The Compassionate Use Act asked that the federal and state governments come up with a plan that would allow for safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients with medical need for marijuana.

Then in 2003, the California state Legislature passed the "Medical Marijuana Program Act," which provided guidelines for the implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, including a voluntary patient identification card program.

Like San Francisco, Oakland created its own regulatory policy for medical cannabis dispensaries to ensure patients could access marijuana. The city issued permits to the dispensaries and monitors their licenses as well as financial statements.

"This lawsuit is about protecting the rights of legitimate medical patients," City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement released today. "I am deeply dismayed that the federal government would seek to deny these rights and deprive thousands of seriously ill Californians of access to safe, affordable and effective medicine."

Attorneys argue that well-regulated dispensaries, like Harborside, provide "affordable medical cannabis in a controlled, secure setting, which decreases the market for illegal marijuana. "Closing dispensaries will not reduce the demand for medical cannabis, but instead will create a distribution vacuum that will drive suffering medical patients into the arms of street dealers, thereby putting the patients' health and safety at risk."

Besides, there are much bigger problems for the feds to worry about in Oakland -- like the ever-increasing homicide rate.

My Voice Nation Help

Legalized CANNABIS would not put police in the unemployment line. It would free up Thousands of police to work on other things like, to find missing children, or to work on stopping the slavery market, even track down killers.


 The government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant.

 Please peruse US Patent 6630507 titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.

 Source info is:  http://www.patentstorm.us/search.html?q=6630507&s.x=12&s.y=16

I must ask; what is going on???  The U.S. war on Marijuana has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives - and for what?


Amsterdam has a working model all we have to do is copy it.


This ongoing groundless demonization of marijuana and rape of our civil liberties has got to stop. Alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs combined kill HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EACH AND EVERY YEAR, yet these highly addictive and LETHAL products are not only perfectly legal, but celebrated (how many beer and other alcohol commercials did YOU see during the Superbowl?). In a perfect example of hypocrisy, a relatively harmless, naturally occurring plant with a long list of industrial, social, agricultural and medical benefits THAT HAS NEVER KILLED A SINGLE PERSON *EVER* remains demonized. This so-called "War On Drugs" has failed spectacularly and miserably, and as long as ignorant, mindless, brainwashed sheep are allowed to dictate what we can and can't put into our own bodies (and as long as ignorant, mindless, brainwashed sheep allow themselves to be manipulated by propaganda), we will NEVER be truly free. Good for Oakland for standing up to the DEA thugs who exemplify utter disdain for the will of the People!


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sebraleaves topcommenter

This is an interesting legal argument. We shall see how it works. This should be an interesting case to watch.


Good for them, Harborside is still a profiteering corporation [non-profit my ass], while the home grower patients and venders that supply them are stuck in the shadows of the law and suffering any recourse.  The only ones that win will be black marketeers and the government lobbyist's in this fight.


Legalize Cannabis or at least remove this substance from class one pharmaceuticals [alongside heroin! dah!  the government even has a patient on THC and CBD's!]...next thing is the heirloom tomatoes in your yard dummy...Monsanto doesn't want them either and the government will listen to their corporate rant too.


Europe is already fighting for herbs they can grow legally for alternative medicine:





shadow fighter


 @irwr179 california has a working model too! but when the prez lies and raids when promising not tond of makes it not work....



It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes. Andrew Jackson.  

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. George Washington.

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