January 8, 2013

CA Dispensary Harborside Prevails Again in Court, Eroding Feds’ MMJ Crackdown Strategy

Image of Harborside Health Center

Score another one for Harborside Health Center – and possibly the entire medical marijuana industry.

A federal judge in California has ruled that the landlords of Harborside’s buildings in San Jose and Oakland cannot force the dispensary to stop selling marijuana despite federal threats to seize the properties. Chief Federal Magistrate Maria-Elena James also rejected claims by the landlords that their properties will lose value if the dispensary is allowed to continue selling cannabis, saying the argument “rings hollow.” (You can read the entire ruling here)

The MMJ center has now racked up several key court victories in just the past few months. The latest ruling is one of the biggest of the bunch for Harborside: It lets the nation’s largest dispensary to stay open as it battles the federal government in a civil forfeiture case.

“The main threat here was that if the judge prevented Harborside from continuing to remain in business with the forfeiture action pending, (the dispensary) wouldn’t have the financial ability to pursue its case,” Henry Wykowski, the lead attorney for Harborside, told Medical Marijuana Business Daily. “By refusing to close us down, the judge has paved the way for us to develop our case and present it at trial, which is what we always wanted.”

The ruling could wind up being significant for more than just Harborside: It sets a legal precedent that will make it much more difficult for the federal government to go after medical marijuana centers simply by threatening their landlords with asset seizure.

This strategy has worked remarkably well for the feds over the past year, leading to the closure of hundreds of dispensaries in California and other states. Landlords who received warning letters simply booted dispensaries from their properties, allowing the government to crack down on the industry without spending much in the way of time or resources. No one has been able to stand up to the feds and challenge such moves until now.

The ruling adds to a number of positive developments – including the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington and new MMJ laws in Connecticut and Massachusetts – that have renewed optimism in the industry after some tough times.

For Harborside, though, the battle is not over. The dispensary is still facing the threat of civil forfeiture from the federal government, and a hearing will be held later this month in a case tied to that suit. With its recent court wins, however, the dispensary has momentum on its side. The forfeiture case also will take months, and possibly even a year, to play out – removing the immediate threat of closure.


2 Comments:

  1. Awesome stuff! And all the time it’s open the street drug dealers in that area have less customers and therefore less incentive to operate. This will INCREASE the safety of children living in that area! The federal government should be paying them to stay open, NOT trying to close them down!!

  2. Yes, the American Gestapo/D.E.A./Federal Gov’t should be paying these dispensaries to stay open or at least be giving us a tax break, since marijuana is now available as medicine and will eventually be available for recreational use. I consider marijuana to be one of the best medicines that I’ve ever used.

Post Your Comment:


Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As Marijuana Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

Florida Nursery to Challenge Tossed CBD Application

Even though Florida hasn’t awarded its five CBD licenses to nurseries that applied earlier this [click to continue...]

WA Prosecutor to Sue 15 Unlicensed Dispensaries

marijuana lawsuit

A group of unlicensed dispensaries that have resisted attempts to shut them down are now [click to continue...]

UK Might Debate Marijuana Legalization

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom must consider debating the merits of marijuana after more than [click to continue...]

New York Licensees to be Announced by Friday

The wait is nearly over. The New York Department of Health confirmed that it plans [click to continue...]

Oregon Recreational Marijuana Sales to Begin Oct. 1

OregonMedicalMarijuana

The third recreational cannabis state is now just months away from beginning sales. Oregon residents [click to continue...]

Nevada Dispensary Considers Lawsuit Over Delays

A dispensary in Nevada that has been hoping to open since February is considering filing [click to continue...]

WA Cannabis Shops Busted for Selling to Minors

Nineteen Washington State marijuana stores face suspensions and fines after they failed to properly check [click to continue...]

Dispensary Bill on Tap in Michigan

Michigan medical cannabis issues, pot dispensary updates, news about marijuana by state

Concerned with what might happen if voters legalize recreational marijuana at the ballot next year, [click to continue...]

CDC Calls for Strict Edibles Labeling, Public Education

After evaluating a fatal accident that took place last year in Denver, the Center for [click to continue...]

Israel to Sell Medical Marijuana in Pharmacies

Israel, one of the world’s leading countries on medical cannabis research, will soon be dispensing [click to continue...]

Third Minnesota Dispensary Opens Despite Low Patient Count

Photo of open sign

Minnesota’s third medical cannabis dispensary has opened despite the low number of patients registered to [click to continue...]

Police Raid Business Owned By CA Industry Association Exec

A business run by the president of the California Cannabis Industry Association was raided and [click to continue...]

Illinois Poised to Begin Seed-to-Sale Tracking

As Illinois’ medical marijuana industry ramps up, regulatory officials are preparing to start following medical [click to continue...]

Washington State Dispensaries to Benefit From PTSD Addition

marijuana conditions

A week after Colorado shot down an attempt to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a [click to continue...]

Marijuana Business Daily