The Justice Department has moved to shut down Harborside Health Center in San Jose and Oakland by filing papers to seize both properties where Harborside Health operates its dispensaries.
On Tuesday, July 10th, copies of the federal complaint for forfeiture were taped to the the front doors of both dispensaries and alleged that they were “operating in violation of federal law.”
Harborside Health Center (HHC) was co-founded by activist Steve DeAngelo and is thought to be the most high profile medical marijuana dispensary operation in the state. HHC was even the subject of the reality show “Weed Wars” last year.
DeAngelo said Wednesday that he would fight the actions taken by the Justice Department “openly and in public” and said he would strongly resist any attempt of landlords to evict HHC after receiving the Federal complaint.
Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee that his federal agents were only targeting large-scale growers and dispensaries. In her statement released Wednesday, U.S. attorney for Northern California, Melinda Haag, suggested that “superstores such as Harborside” fit that bill. She went on to say that, “the larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws.”
Harborside Health Center has often been lauded as the model for compliance. Activists point to the fact that HHC’s main facility in Oakland not only is permitted but complies with the strict regulations of the city. Nandy Nadel of the Oakland City Council and vice mayor said in a statement, “It is most unjust to our citizen patients and distributors who have followed local guidelines to be harassed and treated as criminals by federal officials.”