City of Oakland Files Suit in U.S. District Court to Prevent Closure of Harborside Health Center

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In an historic development, the city of Oakland announced it filed a suit in U.S. District Court to enjoin U.S. Attorney Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag from their attempts to close Harborside Health Center, a fully compliant state and city licensed medical cannabis dispensary.

Filed in the U.S. District Court of California (Case# SF-3201156) and in a historic development, the City of Oakland on Wednesday announced it has filed suit in federal District Court to enjoin US Attorney General Eric Holder and US Attorney Melinda Haag from their attempts to close Harborside Health Center, a city-licensed fully compliant medical cannabis dispensary.

According to court documents, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag filed a civil forfeiture suit to seize commercial property of the landlord at 1840 Embarcadero, Oakland, California where Harborside Health Center is located. Harborside Health Center is a nationally acclaimed model of legitimacy and legal compliance in the medical cannabis industry. ((http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/oakland-sues-us-to-stop-medical-marijuana-seizures.html) It has been featured in the Discovery Channel series, “Weed Wars" and has been covered by dozens of major media outlets across the country. (Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and others.)

Harborside was targeted by Haag on July 9, when she initiated a civil forfeiture suit to seize the Oakland and San Jose properties where the facilities are located. (Case #: Northern Dist. of California No. CV 12-3567 EDL)

Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside, issued the following statement in response to the City’s historic action:

“We are heartened and encouraged by the City of Oakland’s lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder and US Attorney Melinda Haag, and welcome the City’s support. Ms. Haag has attacked not only Harborside and our patients, but also the entire system of regulated medical cannabis distribution painstakingly developed by the City. Those regulations were developed in response to very real and serious problems caused by unregulated sales of medical cannabis, and have improved public safety while raising substantial tax revenue. If Ms. Haag is successful in her efforts, our 112,000 patients will be forced to the illicit marketplace, over $25 million in annual cannabis sales will move back to the streets of Oakland, the City will lose its second largest retail tax payer, and our more than 100 employees will no longer have jobs.

“It is shameful that Ms. Haag and her colleagues, who are sworn to protect public safety, have chosen to spend limited law enforcement resources closing down licensed and regulated dispensaries, instead of targeting meth labs or human trafficking. The President should immediately freeze all enforcement actions against medical cannabis providers, and review them to make sure they are consistent with administration policy to target only those providers who are out of compliance with state law.”

(City of Oakland news release: http://bit.ly/STH0lO - City of Oakland filed complaint (PDF): http://bit.ly/TCNzsJ)
Case # SF-3201156/U.S. District Court of State of California

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Gaynell Rogers
Harborside Health Center
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Samantha Campos
Harborside Health Center
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