…in both the East Bay and South Bay locations — regardless of a bid by the DOJ to close their doors for good.
If I were Steve DeAngelo I would be more than a little concerned and frustrated over his incessant battle of stupidity with the federal government. If it’s not the federal government trying to make his life miserable, it’s his spineless, morally deficient landlord trying to boot him out of the property which he is contractually entitled to. Fearful of losing his property to the federal government in the Harborside forfeiture case, the owner made the hasty and proactive decision to try and evict their holistically inclined tenets…to no avail.
Yesterday a Federal magistrate judge ruled that the Harborside medical marijuana collective can continue to remain open and operating, at least for the immediate future, in both the East Bay and South Bay locations…regardless of a bid by the DOJ to close their doors for good.
The important and appreciated ruling marks the latest chess move in this epic battle between local and federal authorities over medical weed shops and over Harborside Health Center, which was featured on the Discovery Channel reality TV show “Weed Wars.”
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Harborside’s landlord is seeking to evict the store under pressure from federal prosecutors as part of the U.S. government’s crackdown on what it deems to be “illegal pot shops” in California and the West.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James ruled that the federal government, not the landlords, must move to evict Harborside for its alleged violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The landlords “are attempting to use a procedural rule in a civil forfeiture proceeding to bring what amounts to an enforcement action … against Harborside,” the 17-page ruling said. “This is a measure which the Government – the entity charged with enforcing the statute – has elected not to pursue.”
In October, the city of Oakland sued the federal government in an effort to allow Harborside to continue selling marijuana to its 100,000 patients. Oakland officials warned that a shutdown would lead to a “health crisis.”
The city expects to collect $1.4 million in medical-pot sales taxes this year.
“This is a significant victory for the City of Oakland and its 400,000 citizens, for thousands of cannabis patients, and for the Harborside dispensary,” Cedric Chao, a lawyer representing the city pro bono.
“With today’s ruling, we can develop Oakland’s case in a logical way and tee up the federal government’s actions for examination by the federal judiciary,” he said.
Eighteen states, including California, and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana.
But U.S. prosecutors argue that federal law takes precedence over state law and sought to shut down Harborside by trying to seize its landlords’ properties.
The judge will continue to hear both the landlords’ eviction case against Harborside and Oakland’s lawsuit blocking the eviction.
Source – Reuters