The federal government has ramped up their attack on the marijuana industry in California. By targeting a well-publicized, prominent dispensary, authorities aim to destroy one of nation’s largest suppliers of the plant. Harborside Health Center in Oakland and its sister shop in San Jose have had property seizure paperwork filed against their landlords by the government in order to shut down what it insists are facilities operating outside of federal law. Harborside, founded in 2006 by Steve DeAngelo and David Weddingdress, was lauded by marijuana activists and city officials for abiding by state regulations and paying taxes which further emphasizes the feds’ lack of discretion when targeting cannabis shops, a contradiction to claims made by Attorney General Eric Holder last month. Founders DeAngelo and Weddingdress have shunned the low profiles often adopted by dispensary owners in order to avoid federal awareness; by becoming leading marijuana activists and having their craft featured on the Discovery Channel, the attempted seizure of Harborside’s assets and property seems an attempt to make an example out of the establishment as the highly-praised and prominent dispensary has vowed to legally fight authorities in a steadfast and very public manner.
Earlier in Barack Obama’s term, proponents were wary as the president insisted a virtual blind eye toward the industry; Attorney General Holder continues to purport targeting only dispensaries that ignore state regulations, abuse their laws or infringe on schools while contradictory, continuing raids and creative legal pathways to seize and stop dispensaries continue to take down facilities across California. While federal authorities not only rely on DEA-conducted raids but have also use civil statutes aimed at drug trafficking organizations to influence landlords into dismissing their marijuana-distributing tenants, activists have defamed recent injudicious attacks as a peak into the real nature of the federal government’s war on marijuana: a intolerant effort to destroy its footing. Not too far from the Kool-Aid have been the United States’ banking institutions who have recently barred marijuana-related transactions and continue to prohibit dispensaries from using their services.
- Mozingo, Joe (July 11, 2012). “California medical marijuana operation targeted by feds”. LA Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Leff, Lisa (July 12, 2012). “Popular California pot shop targeted for closure”. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Artz, Matthew (July 12, 2012). “Feds target Harborside medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland”. The Oakland Tribune. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- Ross, Andrew (July 11, 2012). “Medical marijuana sales becoming cash only”. SFGate. Retrieved July 12, 2012.