The Federal government has taken its assault on Harborside Health Center, one of America’s largest and best known medical marijuana dispensaries, to a new level. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to seize the Oakland property used by Harborside Health Center, which is believed to be the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California posted a notice on Harborside’s door this week, saying it intends to seize the property under federal laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana.
Last year the federal government first went after Harborside over an obscure tax provision claiming that as a result of selling medical marijuana the dispensary isn’t allow it to take standard business deductions. While that legal fight with the IRS over millions in potential back taxes is ongoing, the district U.S. attorney for Northern California, Melinda Haag had decided to bring more pressure to bear against the dispensary in an attempt to force it out of business.
Harborside and its founder Steve DeAngelo are featured on the Discovery channel show Weed Wars. DeAngelo has been a prominent vocal activist for medical marijuana for decades and Harborside is considered a model of professionalism in the industry.
While the Obama administration claims it is only going after medical marijuana dispensaries that are violating state medical marijuana laws, those claims simply don’t fit their pattern of behavior. The federal government has clearly been targeting the best known, well-run, and politically active dispensaries.
Earlier this year federal agents also raided Oaksterdam University and the home of its founder Richard Lee. Lee is another one of the most prominent voices in the marijuana reform movement. He was a main sponsor of Proposition 19 in 2010, which attempted to legalize marijuana in California.