Berkeley Patients Group Gets Temporary Reprieve

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Berkeley Patients Group can stay open, for now.

A federal district court judge took the noted dispensary’s side in a recent hearing tied to forfeiture proceedings brought on by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who has been on a years-long quest to shutter dispensaries in California.

Judge Jon Tigar granted Berkeley’s request for a stay in the case, in which Haag is attempting to use the federal government’s powers to seize the dispensary’s property.

Tigar essentially decided that the forfeiture action should be put on hold until a separate appeal involving the case is resolved.

The next step is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear argument over whether the city of Berkeley has enough of an interest in the property where the dispensary operates to be a plaintiff in the case.

The move is another setback to Haag’s efforts to shut down dispensaries in California.

Haag filed the initial forfeiture proceedings in 2013. But Berkeley Patients Group – one of the oldest dispensaries in the nation – and the city fought back.

In the meantime, the company has its fingers crossed that there will be some kind of resolution on the marijuana issue at the federal level before the case is finalized, in which case the case might be thrown out.

Haag has used similar forfeiture tactics against other California dispensaries with mixed success, depending on whether the businesses fought her office. In December, Haag lost a bid to close down Shambhala Healing Center in San Francisco.