Feds Dismiss Forfeiture Case Against Harborside Health Center
Open since 2006 and hailed as the ‘national model’ by The New York Times and others, Harborside Health Center, along with other dispensaries and commercial land holders across California, faced threats of closure by the federal Government’s crackdown on the properties of those who were renting to medical cannabis businesses. It has been reported that over 600 dispensaries were shuttered in California as a result of this tactic. In July of 2012, Harborside was served with notices of “civil forfeiture” by U.S. Attorneys to seize the buildings that housed its dispensaries in both Oakland and San Jose. Steve DeAngelo, his Co-Directors, and the Harborside lawyers stood firm and resisted the Federal Government in court, as state and local officials scratched their heads about the waste of resources to implement these legal maneuvers.
Today Harborside’s Executive Director Steve DeAngelo and lead attorney Henry Wykowski, with city officials on board, will present the facts of the dismissal and take questions during a press conference on the steps of Oakland’s City Hall at 10 AM; covering the four-year long battle and the Harborside civil forfeiture actions that the Department of Justice has now officially agreed to dismiss, subject only to Harborside agreeing not to pursue any further claims against the government and not to pursue any appeals.
“When US Attorney Melinda Haag first filed suit to seize the property Harborside is located in, I vowed we would never abandon our patients who– and predicted Harborside would outlast the efforts to close us down. Today, thanks to the deep support of our community and our elected officials, and the skill and determination of our legal counsel, that prediction has come true. We believe this dismissal signals the beginning of the end of federal Prohibition; and thank our patients, staff, and supporters everywhere for help achieving this historic victory.” - Steve DeAngelo
“We are gratified that the Government has finally seen fit to lay down its arms against Harborside in this case. The will of the people is for medical cannabis dispensaries to operate free from federal threats of closure. We hope we are on the cusp of a policy change and that the Department of Justice will no longer target state-legal dispensaries for forfeiture.” – Henry Wykowski
“As someone who advocated for Oakland’s nation-leading system to permit, tax and regulate cannabis facilities from the beginning, I have been very pleased at their success in providing clean and safe facilities that contribute positively to the surrounding community. Harborside Health Center has been a strong positive presence in Oakland, both for the patients they serve, the workers they employ, and for the vital public services that are supported by their tax revenues. I am glad that Oakland’s work on the Federal case helped keep Harborside open during this dispute, and heartened to know that the threat against them is now removed.” – Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large
Source: Harborside Health Center press release