Oakland is not mentioned much when talking about “frontiers” in the Medical Marijuana Movement, but it should be, and for good reason.
Home to the now downsized Oaksterdam University, one of the first nationally recognized Cannabis Colleges, the city stood steadfast behind it even during IRS and DEA crackdowns. Harborside Health Center, which claims to be America’s largest medical marijuana dispensary with over 200,00 patients, had Oakland fighting on their behalf as they underwent a federal appeals this past week. The California Court of Appeals ruled against the City of Oakland. Per Reuters:
“A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked efforts by the city of Oakland, California, to stop a U.S. government lawsuit aimed at closing down the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country.
The three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a written opinion that the city has standing to intervene in the civil forfeiture suit against Harborside Health Center, because its closure would cost the city tax revenue”
That the city seems to be targeted by the federal government should come as no surprise. Oakland, with its racial and fiscal inequalities as steeped as San Francisco’s, for that very reason does not have the clout to maintain such visibility when some government entities see actions as city run dispensaries as mere entitlements. Even Attorney Cedric Chao, who represented Oakland in the suit, said he respected the court’s decision but disagreed with it, arguing that he recognized the harm it did to Oakland although he could not provide any legal remedy. Per Reuters:
“The end result is Oakland and its 400,000 residents have no recourse. They cannot seek relief in the courts,” Chao said.
Oakland last sought an injunction to halt efforts by federal prosecutors to shut down Harborside through civil forfeiture actions filed in July 2012 against two properties where the clinic operates.