In 2012, the Department of Justice announced that it was filing charges against Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California for serving medical marijuana patients and violating federal law. The City of Oakland filed a countersuit against the DOJ citing that Harborside was compliant with state and local laws, but a federal judge dismissed the suit for lack of standing, because the City does not own Harborside’s building. If Harborside loses its case, its owners will be faced with asset forfeiture and the business will be shut down.
The threat of asset seizure by the federal government would seem to run contrary to the Obama administration’s stated policies towards the medical marijuana industry. The “Cromnibus” spending bill that was passed into law at the end of 2014 prevents the federal government from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries and patients that operate within state laws.
While that shift in policy will be welcome news in the 23 states that allow medical marijuana — four of which have legalized recreational marijuana — it is unclear what change if any this will have for the dispensaries that the DOJ is after.
Sponsoring Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) Press Release
U.S. News & World Report
NORML (In Favor)
Toke of the Town (In Favor)
Mother Jones (Context)
(Photo Credit: Dank Depot)