Last month, a California judge rejected a landlord’s move to evict the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary for engaging in a business that is legal under state law. Now, a federal judge has also barred the landlord’s attempt to halt the dispensary’s operations.
|Harborside Health Center founder Steve DeAngelo|
As Harborside points out, courts have consistently held that there is no private right of action under the CSA to force compliance. […]The landlords and the Department of Justice will now litigate between themselves over the move to seize the properties where Harborside is housed. The city of Oakland also filed an unprecedented, affirmative lawsuit to halt federal government crackdowns of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. The city alleges that the federal government exceeded its authority with its civil forfeiture action by acting contrary to earlier statements and actions that indicated it would not crack down on those dispensaries in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, now in 18 states.
Moreover, while the Court understands Claimants’ concern over the potential forfeiture of their properties, Rule G(7)(a) is not a means to sever business relationships when they suddenly prove risky or to demonstrate cooperation with the Government.
The litigation raises the question of how the federal government will handle Washington and Colorado’s new laws to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. In the first comment on the measures, President Obama said recreational users are not a “high priority.” He did not, however, refer to marijuana sellers and suppliers, which would be the likely subjects of any federal crackdown.
In the wake of the crackdown, landlords have been unwilling to rent to several other dispensaries that were approved for operation in Oakland.