Oakland Sues Obama Administration over Loss of Tax Revenue Due to Medical Marijuana Crackdown

Sunday, October 14, 2012
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag


In what may be the first of its kind, Oakland, California, is suing the federal government for cracking down on one of the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.


Federal law enforcement began forfeiture proceedings in July against Harborside Health Center, which has operations in Oakland and San Jose.


Attorneys for the city said the lawsuit represents the first time a municipality has taken the U.S. Department of Justice to court on behalf of a marijuana dispensary. In 2011, Harborside paid $1.4 million in business taxes to the city of Oakland and its sales are estimated to generate about $18 million a year in sales tax for Alameda County. Oakland also claims that without a legal source of marijuana, many users with resort to illegal sources, which will lead to an increase in crime and the need for increased law enforcement expenses.


In addition to depriving the city and county of much-needed revenue, Oakland’s lawyers contend that the actions against Harborside contradict the Obama administration’s promise to leave dispensaries obeying state and local laws alone.


U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said her office went after Harborside because of its size. “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,” Haag told the San Francisco Chronicle.


Haag has not accused the dispensary of selling marijuana to people without a prescription.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

City of Oakland Fights Federal Clampdown on Medical Marijuana (by Chris Marshall, Courthouse News Service)

Oakland Sues Feds Over Pot Dispensary (by Matthai Kuruvila, San Francisco Chronicle)

City of Oakland v. Eric Holder (U.S. District Court, Northern California) (pdf)

Obama Agents Raid Leading Marijuana University (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Harris 10 years ago
"The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of . . . laws," i.e. the more an entity has to lose by violation of the law, the more likely it will violate them. That is stupid. How did Ms. Haag get into law school? Probably like the prosecutor who said we need the TSA to cut down on drug trafficking. " Hey, Achmed, we just loaded $1,000,00.00 in drugs on the plane. Be sure and blow it up."
Jackie 10 years ago
I think a lot can be solved by turning pot over to Amer. Tax it, control it, legalize it. Take it out of the hands of foreigners. We are spending where we can be earning. The entire situation is rediculas. It's not dangerous except that we (the US) do not have control of it. Another example of outsourcing or whatever you want to call it. I seriously don't understand the policies at all! They just don't make sense!
Prof.Bluntston 10 years ago
Melinda Haag need to be put out of office.What is she saying Harborside was to large.What about the warehouse size liquor stores?Oh wait what about the large pharmaceutical companies in her state hmmmmmmm what's her pill of choice?
Verticalpharmacy 10 years ago
marijuana is very controversial thing with places like Holland its legal to have one :P
Jose 10 years ago
The Medical Drug Cartel is having a fit over marijuana being used instead of opiates. This also flies in the face of the Death Panels who use opiates to hasten end-of-life

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