Feb. 14, 2013 Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge paved the way on Thursday for federal authorities to seek the closure of a medical marijuana dispensary in California, dismissing a challenge by the city of Oakland to a federal crackdown targeting the facility, court papers showed.
But the executive director of the Harborside Health Center pledged that he would not close the Oakland outfit that bills itself as the world's largest medical pot dispensary and was featured in the Discovery Channel television series "Weed Wars."
Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James wrote in a 10-page ruling that a local U.S. attorney had successfully argued the federal government was immune from Oakland's lawsuit under the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets out how U.S. agencies develop and issue regulations.
California is one of 18 states which, in addition to the District of Columbia, allow medical marijuana. But the federal government holds the drug is illegal and liable to be abused.
A representative for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California declined to comment on the ruling.
Oakland, in a novel lawsuit filed in October, sought to halt federal prosecutors' efforts to shutter Harborside. The dispensary was expected to generate an estimated $1.4 million in sales tax revenues for the city this year.