Major Medical Marijuana Dispensary Battles the FEDS - and WINS
Photo credit - Blessing of elite medical marijuana
In May this year, the Feds dropped a landmark case against one of the most reputable and fully legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the State of California. Previously, Harborside Health center of Oakland was charged with the illegal distribution of a controlled substance for several years.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. attorney is a victory for health care access, for decades, Harborside has helped ensure members of our community can access their medicine. It’s past time for the federal government to stop standing between these patients and their medicine.” - Rep. Oakland Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
In effect, the Fed is guilty of violating California Law - an expression of rights as stated in the Constitution and areed upon when the State joined the United States - which allows citizens access to MMJ since 1996. Why, with all the problems in the country, would the Fed waste their time messing with the individual states on an issue as inert as Medical Marijuana. Let's agree that there are no ethical or financial reasons to deprive an epileptic or AIDS patient of their medicine, one must conclude that the Fed is simply trying to intimidate and overrule State law and constitution in a Machiavellian power grab.
The idea - that this bust is motivated by concerns about public safety - is a red herring. Medical Marijuana has become so popular, it is eating into the profits of legal and illegal drug suppliers. These people are feeling the pain. Also the Fed is in its 80th year of systematically eroding into the rights of the individual States and Municipalities. Right now, the constitution is threatened to be rewritten to void basic rights and freedoms of the common man. But, if you believe Big Brother or Big Sister is there to take good care of you, then sure, trash the constitution.
Caught in the middle of this State - Fed battle is Harborside Health Center of Oakland, California, They won't back down and have has been fighting the good fight to stay open for four years.
Harborside Health Center, perhaps the nation’s largest medical pot dispensary, has won its battle with the federal government. The Justice Department backed out of its case, ending a four year battle - waste of everyone's time. The litigation in question began in 2012 when
then-U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag began cracking down on medical dispensaries in California.
Of course the orders came from the top, from the "marijuana friendly" Obama administration.
The action against Harborside was part of Obama's crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries across California. In 2011 and 2012, more than 500 dispensaries in state were closed because of the threat of federal prosecution despite compliance with state law.
“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.” - Steve DeAngelo , Harborside Executive Director
Several California Senators rallied against the US Attorney's office, and the mayor of Oakland even chimed in.
“It’s a great day for Oakland and for all of California, the federal government isn’t going to waste tax dollars trying to frustrate the desires of Californians to have safe access to medical cannabis.” - Oakland Mayor
Interestingly, the dismissal of the case came on the same day that the city was set to bring the entire supply chain of medical marijuana into legal standing or quote; "out from the shadows.” If the Fed had not backed off, they were looking at a head to head battle with a number of Californian cities and a battalion of Cannabis lawyers that are eager to do battle in court over past, present and future transgressions against lawful marijuana related entities.
“The federal government has thrown everything they had at us and we met them and we pushed back,It’s a drug war machine that’s bound for extinction.” - Director. Mr. DeAngelo
Feds Bizarre Interpretation of Legislation - Block Sponsor from Edits
While the Fed claims the use, possession and sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law, that law conflicts with the constitution -10th amendment - which grants the States certain exclusive rights to make their own laws about drugs. Medical Cannabis was legalized in California in 1996. Since then, dispensaries have done a booming business. In 2014, registered dispensaries reported sales at $570 million and paid $49.5 million in taxes. Full legalization in colorado has resulted in a cool 1 $ billion in total sales.
It was Harborside's success - not any illicit activity - that made them a Fed target. The dispensary takes in about $25 million annually and has served about 1000 patients per day.
It was this success that prompted Haag to go after Harborside, which brings in approximately In 2012, The DA filed a civil forfeiture motion against the collective, claiming the dispensary had violated federal drug laws.
“The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need,” Haag wrote.
Using this kind of logic, it stands to reason, the biggest money fraud takes place at the big banks and the Fed is obligated to raid them at gunpoint, then charge them and shut them down.
- July 2012, Harborside raided by Feds
- October 2012, the city of Oakland sued the federal government to block the DOJ from seizing the property where Harborside operates, arguing that sick people would be forced to seek marijuana via illegal means
- 2012 - 2013, Harborside won a series of victories in late 2012 and early 2013 allowing the dispensary to avoid eviction and continue its operations
- 2013 Fed judge dismissed Oakland’s lawsuit. The city then appealed
- 2013 Judge ruled the dispensary could stay open while litigation was in process
- 2013 The case eventually went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where the city was dealt a major legal setback in August
- 2014, Congress approved an amendment introduced by California Reps. Sam Farr (D) and Dana Rohrabacher (R) that blocks the DOJ from using federal funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana programs
- 2015 Congress reauthorized amendment blocking Feds from using funds to go after state-legal marijuana in 2015
- 2015 Fed judge ruled that the Justice Department can’t prosecute legally operating providers of medical marijuana
- 2016 Feds drop case
The U.S. Attorney’s Office never stated why the case was dropped. It is clear that there that the city and state want the Fed and the horse they rode in on, to get out of Dodge.
“I am glad that Oakland’s work on the Federal case helped keep Harborside open during this dispute, and heartened to know that the threat against them is now removed.” - Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.
Next up, The IRS
Next up on the plate, is the IRS, a group that targets the enemies of the Fed with audits from hell. What groups like the IRS and Fed do not understand, is that their behavior is increasingly seen as deviant as opposed to lawful. And people are standing up and supporting one another. Imagine if all the dispensaries in the state got together and hired a group of lawyers to go after the IRS for possible transgressions?
The Harborside tax case began in 2010. The IRS audited their Oakland dispensary for 2008 and 2009, and found financial records to be fully compliant. However, the IRS declared Harborside and all other medical cannabis dispensaries to be drug trafficking organizations (DTOs)! and applied a tax regulation that normally applies to cocaine smugglers, resulting in a back tax bill of $2.4 million! As a criminal organization, Harborside was subject to audit for every year of its existence.
Without getting into gory detail, according to the Fed, the tax rate on sales could be 60 to 90%, which is more than profits from sales. Harborside would be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars for each year it was in operation.
“Section 280E was passed during the height on the War on Drugs, many years before California and 24 other states legalized the use of medical cannabis,”It was meant to apply to drug dealers, not state-sanctioned cannabis dispensaries. Ignoring the intent of Congress, the IRS has chosen to apply 280E to legitimate cannabis businesses.” - Henry Wykowski, Harborside Attorney
The Harborside case will be a test case to challenge the validity of the IRS "interpretation" - that dispensing medical marijuana to patients recommended for treatment by licensed Californian doctors - are in fact, equivalent to cocaine dealers.
While the IRS is a threat to the entire Medical Marijuana, they might have bitten off much more than they can chew, with ridiculous charges. The IRS is increasingly under fire and their non-patriotic attitude is not appreciated by all. Even the original sponsor of the bill that IRS is using to go after marijuana dispensaries has bailed on them.
“it undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking the full range of deductions allowed for other small businesses…[and] punishes the thousands of patients who rely on them for safe, legal, reliable access to medical marijuana as recommended by a doctor.”
- original sponsor of 280E, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA).
Stark had introduced a corrective measure to clarify the intent, legal medical marijuana is not the same as heroin smuggling. Of course, the Fed process has blocked the original sponsor from doing his job. What a waste of time and money when there is a real shortage of manpower to fight real crime.
“Harborside Health Center, a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary with locations in Oakland and San Jose, California, is looked upon as a model of how others could operate.” – The New York Times
Harborside was founded in 2006 by Steve DeAngelo. They claim to be the largest medical cannabis dispensary in the United States with over 200,000 registered patients. Harborside has innovative programs to support education for seniors, veterans and families with severely ill children. Harborside also claims to be the first dispensary in the country to offer CBD-rich cannabis medicine and pioneered the treatment of children with Dravet syndrome. DeAngelo was named one of the most powerful national cannabis industry leaders by Fortune Magazine.
MMJDoctorOnline Notes: Harborside Dispensary would never have been the number one supplier of Medical Marijuana in the US, nor would it have won the support of the Mayor of Oakland and several Senators to fight its cause. Similarly, as a medical marijuana user, you will benefit from being legal to possess, transport, cultivate or use MMJ.
We specialize in what may be the fastest, most affordable online 420 Cannabis document service anywhere in the State of California. Our online process takes only a few minutes to complete. Once you're press finished,: a licensed medical doctor promptly evaluates your conditions and symptoms. Your legal documents are emailed and hard copy follows in a few days in a non-medical cannabis marked envelope - to insure your complete privacy.
Remember too, patients don't pay until they are approved. Our documents are accepted by Harborside and any other licensed dispensary, clinic, cooperative or delivery service in the State of California.
FURTHER READING - The Fed's War on the Constitution and rights of the States
Just for the sake of being informed and for myself who's not well verse regarding the US Constitution and other legal stuff. Tell me about the relationship or how the 10th Amendment affects the legalization of marijuana use for medical purpose.
This is how the Amendment 10 is explained:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The governmental powers not listed in the Constitution for the national government are powers that the states, or the people of those states, can have.
Examples: The states determine the rules for marriages, divorces, driving licenses, voting, state taxes, job and school requirements, rules for police and fire departments, and many more.
States regulate many of our rights, not the national government.
The national government does not control these areas because they are not mentioned in the Constitution, and so they are under the control of the states.
But the Feds say that Marijuana might be sold in other states and this amounts to interstate commerce, which is a bogus, because nearly everything could be construed as interstate activity
Florida Department of Health ignores the Fed as more and more states choose to ignore their bizarre interpretations of the constitution and federal law itself.
Trulieve announced Wednesday that it received final approval from the Florida Department of Health to begin selling a low-THC strain of medical marijuana used to treat children with severe epileptic seizures and cancer. The state legislature legalized this form of medical cannabis in 2014. Cannabis with higher levels of THC for treatment of terminally ill patients will become available in August, according to the company. Earlier this year, the Florida legislature expanded its 2015 “Right to Try” law by making medicinal cannabis available to
The Arkansas Secretary of State has approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in the state. This provides the opportunity to take another step toward nullifying federal prohibition in effect.
Comments from a GOP presidential contender and a federal judge have put the issue of states legalizing marijuana back on the constitutional front burner.
Marijuana, as many people know, four states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to make recreational pot use legal under certain circumstances. And 23 states and the federal district have legalized marijuana for medical use.
However, recreational and medical marijuana use is still illegal nationally under the Controlled Substances Act and it is listed under the Schedule 1 list of drugs, along with heroin and LSD.