Berkeley Patients Group
Medical Marijuana Policy

Feds Lose In Court Against California Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Berkeley Patients GroupCalifornia’s oldest medical marijuana dispensary is the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). United States Attorney Melinda Haag has tried hard the last couple of years to shut the medical marijuana dispensary down. Court proceedings have been occurring, with the City of Berkeley arguing on behalf of the dispensary. Last Fall a judge ruled that the Berkeley had no standing in the case. That decision was appealed, and this week a federal judge ruled in favor of Berkeley and BPG.

The decision in favor of Berkeley and BPG means that a stay has been issued preventing the feds from seizing the dispensary, for now. Per Smell the Truth:

“We’re still surprised given the recent change in the climate surrounding medical cannabis in California that the attorney is being relentless in her fight,” said Victor Pinho, for BPG. “We are emboldened by this judgement and we reaffirm our commitment to our patients and reaffirm our commitment to fighting the good cause of making sure every one who needs access has proper access.”

“We are hopeful that Congress will act quickly to resolve the split between state and Federal marijuana laws by passing bills like Congresswoman Lee’s proposed H.R. 262″ said Tim Schick, Berkeley Patients Group’s Executive Director, referencing the States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act introduced on January 9. “In the meantime,” he added, “we look forward to continuing to serve our local patient population.”

BPG was founded in 1999, and became an international model for safe access to medical cannabis. The City of Berkeley celebrated BPG Day in 2009 and again in 2014. Ms. Haag said she was using her discretion to seize BPG because it was too close to a pre-school. Mayor Tom Bates disputes that claim.

Melinda Haag is also trying to shut down Harborside Health Center, another very prominent medical marijuana dispensary in California. I have long wondered what a clear, effective medical marijuana dispensary law in California would do to these attacks by the feds. California’s Legislature needs to step up because while these dispensaries are well regulated and follow local law, they will always come under attack by the feds in the absence of a state-level regulatory system. This is a significant, yet small victory for BPG. I’m hopeful that they keep winning in court in their battle against the feds.

  • Jetdoc

    This is HUGE! Take that Melinda Haag!

  • Patrick Star

    While she is spending all this time and effort in closing all these legitimate businesses who is paying attention to all the pharmaceutical overdose and abuse people are dying from everyday that are advertised on your local television station hourly

    • Dave_K

      Melinda Haag does not care about people in California. She cares about Policing for Profit. Someone needs to remind her that she cannot incarcerate those who don’t survive, as a direct result of her actions. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests medical marijuana may be an antidote for fatal overdoses caused by prescription pain medication. Medical marijuana patients have reported for many years that they use fewer prescribed pain medications when medical marijuana is available. Research, reported in the JAMA Internal Medicine (Aug 2014), finds that deaths associated with the use of opiate drugs fell in 13 states after they legalized medical marijuana. Compared to states with no formal access to marijuana, those that allowed certain patients legal access to cannabis saw a steady drop in opiate-related overdoses that reached 33%, on average, six years after the states’ medical marijuana laws took effect. Although many focus on what they perceive will be costs associated with medical marijuana few focus on the positive aspects of such use. Prescription drug overdoses have surpassed traffic accidents as a cause of death in many states in the US. The legalization and regulation of cannabis will have long term benefits and certainly is expected to improve the health of those who would otherwise die of prescription drugs. Legalize and regulate this effective natural herbal medicine in 2016!

  • Johnny oneye

    The Grey market!
    Did the fat lady sing yet?
    Lizard Lady , what kind of hag?
    #POPPYCOCK

  • Nathaniel

    The courts are starting to participate in the fight for our rights? This precedent is going to be used country wide to argue the legitimacy of private dispensaries’ rights to zero search and seizure, unless a crime has been committed [tax fraud], while simultaneously claiming states’ sovereign rights vs federal law.
    This could be another huge snowball pushed down the hill.
    It feels good, doesn’t it? I know I get jazzed each time I read about another significant win.

  • Sinclair

    Just every once in a while justice is served. We wish you all the best BPG.

  • The clearer the law the more enforcers you need. I think Calif. law is just fine.