Feds continue war on California's medical marijuana industry


San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries may be bouncing back from last year’s crackdown by the federal government, but the industry statewide continues to be besieged by the federal authorities, winning some battles but losing others.

Oakland-based Harborside Health Center, the nation's largest not-for-profit model medical cannabis dispensary, experienced a big victory last month when a judge refused a federal motion for injunctive relief that would have shut down the club and enforce a forfeiture action and a 30-day notice to evacuate that the feds filed in July 2012.  

The City of Oakland decided to file its own motion against the U.S. attorneys, banks, and landlords that were all trying to evict Harborside, one of the top two tax-payers in Oakland, a first for city to officially back one of its clubs against the feds. But the judge also denied a city motion to dismiss the case, so it continues to work its way toward trial.

Hopes that the November votes in Washington and Colorado to legalize even recreational weed smoking would cause the feds to back off in California haven’t materialized. Aaron Sandusky, a dispensary operator from Southern California, was sentenced to 10 years of federal prison last month for conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. The feds claim the charges were so high because he had upwards of 1,000 plants.

Stockton resident Matthew Davies owned various dispensaries (keepmattfree.org), but they were shuttered after the feds, which charged him with two counts of manufacturing marijuana. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner is offering Davies a plea bargain for a minimum of five years, and threatening 10 years in prison if he doesn’t comply. A recent Politco article makes the point that this case probably won’t be the one to turn over federal law, as it is unclear whether Davies was in compliance with California state law on marijuana.

These harsh examples are just a couple of dozens of dispensaries being shut down across the state. Just last month, in a case filed by Americans for Safe Access, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC ruled that marijuana has no proven medical value and should still classified as a Schedule I substance. ASA plans to appeal the ruling, hoping the US Supreme Court will take up the issue.

People across the country are signing online petitions and vocalizing their opposition to the contradictory stance on the legality of pot. Joining in on this public debate, Morgan Spurlock, director and star of Supersize Me, is the host of a new CNN documentary series, “Inside Man”, in which Spurlock investigates various issues in American life. In one episode, Spurlock focuses on the state of medical marijuana in California, and the ongoing struggle between federal and state lawmakers. He will feature both the Harborside and the Davies case.

For now, marijuana advocates are waiting on the court decisions on these various cases and if they will affect changes regarding the federal law. The City of Oakland had a hearing last week but no ruling was made. Harborside will continue to remain open and serving patients until its case goes to trial, a date that is uncertain at the moment.



From the article - "Hopes that the November votes in Washington and Colorado to legalize even recreational weed smoking would cause the feds to back off in California haven’t materialized."

Why would one think "feds" would back off because of that? (Another case of wishful-thinking on the part of partisan Dem-bots).

One corporatist politician's name from the one-party system is mysteriously missing from this article. If Bush were literally still in office (I couldn't stand Bush), I suspect his name would be sprinkled throughout this article. But since it's BO, the language chosen is "the feds." BO's name is no where to be found in the article. Let me entertain you with a translation of what that means:

The Feds = Obama. a.k.a. Mr Change We Can Believe In. Mr Looking Forward. Mr. Forward.

This is off-topic, but I hope everyone saw this:

Obama administration claims power to authorize pre-emptive cyberwar strikes

If this were coming from GW Bush, the partisan Dems would protest it. Scream about it. I would be there with them protesting it. But these days, I wonder what excuses the Obama-bots will make for this to defend BO?

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

The State of California needs to establish dispensaries in state buildings on state land to put the kibosh on the Feds' forfeiture intimidation scheme.

That would up the ante so that the Feds would need to bring in the Marshals if they wanted to continue this misguided harassment enterprise.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

Arrest the fed cops for trespassing.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

that risk? The Feds always trump the States. you've got the civil war to thank for that, and it doesn't always give you the outcome you want.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

States enjoy sovereign immunity.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

That's why have that pesky constitution thing.

Posted by anon on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

Depends on how far each side is willing to push it. Would be fun to see if the feds would try to do forfeiture on the state or if the courts would not recognize the sovereign immunity of the states. It would raise the cost of federal intervention perhaps higher than the feds would want to pay.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

if they think the State is obstructing FDA policy and enforcement. They've done that many times.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

The progressobots have taken advantage of fed law as much as any right winger they moan about . Medical 13 is a joke, the affliction most of these people have is a lack of being stoned.

But I would enjoy the state fucking with the fed over this more.

Posted by matlock on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

Washington and Colorado readily apply "independent state constitutional analysis" in state supreme court decisions/opinions, using federal law merely as a guide. California supreme court doesn't quite have their independence down and tends to follow federal case opinions.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 10:15 am

Governor Jerry Brown NEEDS to call in the California National Guard next time the Feds try to invade a legal California entity.
This isn't what us Californians had in mind when we joined the USA in 1850!
Raiding and arresting California citizens for activities that are legal in our own free and sovereign state isn't in the US Constitution that we signed and ratified. In fact this is violation of the US Constitution!!

-Preamble to the California Constitution states that
"We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution."

California is a FREE and SOVEREIGN STATE!!!!! Fuck off D.C.!!!!!

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Posted by used handphone on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 4:53 am