California MMJ Foe Melinda Haag Stepping Down

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Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney who has aggressively targeted California cannabis businesses in recent years, will vacate her position effective Sept. 1, sending cheers throughout the state’s marijuana industry.

Haag sought to shut down dispensaries even after memos from the Department of Justice and a spending bill passed in December said U.S. attorneys shouldn’t spend federal funds prosecuting medical cannabis businesses that are operating within state regulations.

In 2012, Haag went after Harborside Health Center, one of the largest dispensaries in the country, essentially because it is too big. Oakland city attorneys came to the business’s defense, suing to block Haag’s actions.

In February of this year, attorneys from Haag’s office were back in court to argue the case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

She also sought to close Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the nation. A judge earlier this year sided with the company in a hearing tied to forfeiture proceedings, allowing it to stay open. The next step for that case also is in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.