Harborside Health Center: Feds Say Oakland Can't Stop Them From Shuttering Pot Club
The federal government is now arguing that the City of Oakland shouldn't be allowed to prevent the feds from closing down Harborside Health Center, the state's largest medical marijuana dispensary.
As our weed readers probably recall, Oakland filed a lawsuit in October in an attempt to put an end to the federal crackdown on pot clubs, specifically to stop them from closing down Harborside Health Center, which serves more than 110,000 patients. Last year, the feds announced they would be moving to close pot clubs that were deemed too close to schools, and in July, they extended that crackdown to "superstores" like Harborside.
Last week, the feds filed an opposing brief, claiming Oakland can't participate in the legal battle to try and save the pot club since it doesn't have any ownership in the facility.
But Oakland has argued that the government exceeded the five-year statute of limitations since the marijuana dispensary opened more than six years ago. Justice Department attorney Kathryn Wyer says the city "fails to recognize however, that under the Controlled Substances Act every act of possession, distribution, or cultivation constitutes a separate offense that could independently justify forfeiture."
"Many of these illegal acts have occurred at the Oakland property during the five years before the United States issued forfeiture proceedings," she said. "The forfeiture proceedings thus fall well within the statute of limitations."
In addition, Oakland can't assert that it has relied upon the government's "prior alleged nonenforcement policy" while it's been receiving $20 million in tax and sales revenue annually through the "operation of illegal marijuana dispensaries within its borders," Wyer wrote.
The brief was filed two weeks after a judge claimed Haborside's landlords could not evict the pot club, located at 1840 Embarcadero. Ana Chretien tried to boot her tenant, hoping that would keep the Justice Department from seizing her property. A judge ruled that Harborside was given permission to operate a cannabis club, per the lease agreement. That agreement is protected under state law, meaning the feds can't use that as a reason t evict the dispensary.
Harborside is due back in court on Dec. 20.
HT: Courthouse News