Harborside Health Center’s co-founder said Thursday that he will fight the federal government’s effort to shut down his sprawling medical cannabis complex in East Oakland.
And if he loses, he’ll keep the operation going in any way possible, Stephen DeAngelo said.
“We have no intention of closing our doors,” DeAngelo said at a press conference at Oakland City Hall, where he was joined by 50 community leaders, Harborside patients and other backers. “We will never abandon our patients.”
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag filed a federal court complaint Sunday alleging that the $22 million-a-year medical pot dispensary violates U.S. law prohibiting marijuana distribution. A court notice was posted on Harborside’s door Wednesday announcing asset forfeiture proceedings.
A similar notice was sent to Harborside’s smaller sister dispensary in San Jose.
The complaint is the latest shot in a campaign Haag and other U.S. attorneys have waged since last fall against medical marijuana operations in California. She says any activity that goes beyond small medical marijuana exchanges violates the spirit of the state law that voters passed in 1996 authorizing pot use for medicinal purposes.
Harborside, Haag said in a statement Wednesday, is among “superstores” that violate the spirit of the law.
“The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana law, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need,” Haag said.
The federal complaint filed Sunday makes no mention of the state law, however. It relies on Harborside’s alleged violation of federal drug law in asserting the government’s right to seize the property at 1840 Embarcadero, along the Oakland Estuary.
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