For over a year now, the Obama Administration has been steadily escalating its assault on medical marijuana. What was already a mess has been getting worse from one week to the next, and each new attack revives the question of whether the feds have finally taken things too far.
If we aren’t there yet, we may well be getting pretty damn close. As the Huffington Post reported last week:
SAN FRANCISCO — An Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that has been billed as the largest pot shop on the planet has been targeted for closure by federal prosecutors in Northern California, suggesting that a crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry remains well under way.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag has threatened to seize the Oakland property where Harborside Health Center has operated since 2006, as well as its sister shop in San Jose, executive director and co-founder Steve DeAngelo said Wednesday. His employees found court papers announcing asset forfeiture proceedings against Harborside’s landlords taped to the doors at the two locations on Tuesday.
What makes this event stand out is Harborside’s unparalleled reputation for safety, security and compliance with local laws. The decision to target them contradicts an April interview in which President Obama told Rolling Stone that enforcement efforts focused only on dispensaries that illegally sold marijuana for non-medical use.
Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated that position last month, saying, “We limit our enforcement efforts to those individuals, organizations that are acting out of conformity with state law.” He added that dispensaries may also be targeted if they are too close to a school, and indeed, numerous dispensaries have been shut down for operating within 1,000 feet of a school, even in the absence of any actual problems or complaints.
Yet Harborside is not located within 1,000 feet of a school, nor has the organization ever been accused of violating state or local laws. To the contrary, the group is nationally-recognized as the leading example of a well-run, well-regulated medical marijuana provider. National news outlets routinely feature stock footage from inside the facility, where cameras have always been welcome. The group has operated like an open book from the beginning, believing that a transparent and responsible approach would lend legitimacy to the industry.
How then would the feds justify targeting a place that everyone loves? Ironically, by claiming it’s too popular:
I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need. – U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag
– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.