In a major victory for cannabis normalization and the medical marijuana movement, the federal government has dropped its forfeiture case against Harborside Health Center, the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary.
The forfeiture case was originally brought against Harborside in 2011 in a sweeping federal crackdown on California’s medical marijuana industry, and the dropping of this case mirrors a similar move made several weeks ago when the federal government dismissed its case against cannabis pioneer Lynette Shaw.
In a press release issued Tuesday by Harborside, dispensary founder and cannabis industry tycoon Steven DeAngelo said:
“When US Attorney Melinda Haag first filed suit to seize the property Harborside is located in, I vowed we would never abandon our patients … and predicted Harborside would outlast the efforts to close us down. Today, thanks to the deep support of our community and our elected officials, and the skill and determination of our legal counsel, that prediction has come true. We believe this dismissal signals the beginning of the end of federal Prohibition; and thank our patients, staff, and supporters everywhere for help achieving this historic victory.”
While federal agencies worked to shut down big players in the industry, many local and state officials condemned the move as federal overreach. Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said in a press conference held Tuesday,
“As someone who advocated for Oakland’s nation-leading system to permit, tax and regulate cannabis facilities from the beginning, I have been very pleased at their success in providing clean and safe facilities that contribute positively to the surrounding community. Harborside Health Center has been a strong positive presence in Oakland, both for the patients they serve, the workers they employ, and for the vital public services that are supported by their tax revenues.”
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