By Anne Holland
US Attorney Melinda Haag (pictured) has issued a letter explaining why she filed civil forfeiture actions against Harborside Health Center, despite the fact that the Center appears to break no state or municipal laws. The letter says in part, “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.”
So, instead of becoming ‘too big to fail’, the federal government appears to think medical cannabis dispensaries can become too big to succeed. And, the feds don’t mind the cost to the local economy. Harborside’s closure would not only rob the area of tax income, but also jobs. Harborside’s Oakland facility landlord Ana Chretian stated that the federal forfeiture action would shut down her other business ABC Security which operates on the same lot as the dispensary. ABC employs about 250 people.
At a press conference at Oakland City Hall this morning, Harborside Founder Steve DeAngelo vowed to continue serving the Center’s 108,000 registered patients somehow, “We have no intention of closing our doors.”
In the meantime, Oakland city councilperson Rebecca Kaplan released a statement asking the federal prosecutors to redirect their energies to a crime-fighting task that she feels would greater serve the area. “If there are federal resources available, we need them directed against the violent perpetrators and co-conspirators of the senseless gun violence on our streets.”