Last summer, civil forfeiture suits were filed against Harborside Health Center’s landlords in San Jose and Oakland to try to pressure the collectives’ landlords to evict them. The landlords gave into the feds’ pressure, telling Harborside that they must get out.
Harborside decided to challenge the evictions in court, due to the fact that each lease specifically states the intended use of the space– to be a medical marijuana dispensary.
In a new ruling this week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo tossed out the Oakland eviction. Grillo wrote, “To impose the harsher remedy of declaring a lease terminated and authorizing the sheriff to evict a tenant would be to improperly enforce federal criminal law.”
Grillo continued to explain that Harborside’s landlord, Ana Chretien, knew from the very beginning what the property would be used for, and since the intent was detailed in the lease, Chretien waived her legal right to evict them for being a medical marijuana collective.
Unfortunately, Harborside did not come out victorious in their San Jose case. Last month, a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge issued a one page denial of their eviction challenge without explanation. Harborside has asked an appellate court to review the ruling. If the court declines, Harborside intends to create a defense for that case and seek a jury trial.
A federal court hearing is scheduled on the asset forfeiture December 20th. The city of Oakland is also fighting the forfeiture case, filing a civil suit to “restrain and declare unlawful” the forfeiture action, based on the fact that federal officials have known about Harborside for years and have never taken action before.
Harborside Health Center is considered to be the premier medical marijuana collective in Northern California, serving over 100,000 patients.