Administrative Law

Judge rules city must leave legal fight to keep feds from closing medical marijuana dispensary


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A federal magistrate judge on Thursday dismissed a challenge from the city of Oakland, Calif., of federal authority in shutting down a medical marijuana dispensary, the Oakland Tribune reports.

But that just moves the city out of the picture. Forfeiture suits against two Harborside Health Center locations on the same judge’s docket now will proceed.

Oakland’s effort came through the Administrative Procedures Act, arguing that it had a property interest in the continuation of Harborside continuing to run the medical marijuana clinic. Federal prosecutors have filed actions in federal court to seize Harborside’s properties in Oakland and San Jose.

Oakland’s lawyers argued that closing the dispensary would force more than 100,000 medical marijuana users into the illegal drug market. Further, the city said it would lose more than $1 million a year in tax revenue from the Oakland dispensary.

Federal Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James ruled that the city’s interests “while significant and far-reaching—are too far removed from the property to give it standing….”

Now Harborside will press its argument that federal prosecutors had known of the marijuana sales for years and now are barred by the statute of limitations from seeking the property, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The civil jury trial would be in San Francisco.

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