Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Feds target $20M No. Cal Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Saturday, July 14, 2012 |

Borderland Beat

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Federal prosecutors have filed civil forfeiture actions against an Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world's largest, as part of a crackdown by U.S. authorities on California's massive cannabis trade.
The lawsuits, filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seek forfeiture of two properties where Harborside Health Center operates, said Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California.
The action against Harborside is the latest in a crackdown on what federal prosecutors say is a flourishing network of illegal cannabis suppliers operating across California under the cover of the state's medical marijuana law.
The possession or sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law, which does not have an exemption for medical purposes.
Harborside says it is the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the world, serving more than 100,000 patients in a "beautiful waterfront location,"
and is subject of the Discovery Channel reality TV show "Weed Wars."
"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 said in a statement on Wednesday announcing the actions.
The filing of the civil forfeiture complaints against the two Harborside properties is part of our measured effort to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana businesses in the Northern District of California," she said.
Dani Geen holds 'care packages' of medical marijuana at the Harborside Health Center in a 2010 file photo.
Dispensary vows to contest action
In a statement on its website, the clinic said, "Harborside has nothing to be ashamed of, and will contest the Federal actions openly and publicly, with every legal means at our disposal."
"We look forward to our day in court, and are confident that justice is on our side. Come what may, we shall continue to care for our patients unless we are physically prevented from doing so," the statement said.
"People are not going to stop using cannabis, they're just going to buy it in the illegal marketplace … on the streets," Harborsider co-founder and marijuana activist Steve DeAngelo told the Los Angeles Times in an interview.  
Why are federal prosecutors using their discretion to do something so profoundly destructive?" he asked, according to the newspaper.
Harborside also announced a news conference for Thursday morning to respond to the "federal attack," saying that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and other city, state and union officials would attend.
Federal crackdown
The federal crackdown has angered medical marijuana activists.
"This is the most obvious and significant step by the federal government in attacking completely law-abiding dispensaries," the Los Angeles Times quoted Kris Hermes, spokesman for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, as saying. "It becomes more untenable for them to say they are just going after certain facilities and not just undermining the state's marijuana laws."
The drive by federal prosecutors to shut down dispensaries has caused friction between the U.S. government and California, which in 1996 became the first state to decriminalize medical marijuana. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have followed suit.
Harborside serves about 100,000 medical marijuana users a year, sells about $20 million worth of pot and marijuana products, and pays $3 million in federal, state and local taxes annually.
Dispensaries deliver between $58 million to $105 million in annual sales tax to California state coffers, according to state Board of Equalization figures cited in the Los Angeles Times.
Earlier this year, federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service raided Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana trade school in Oakland, and forced its founder to step aside.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, in a November interview with The New York Times, said the federal campaign had "only increased uncertainty about how Californians can legitimately comply with state law."
Harris also said federal authorities were "ill equipped to be the decision makers as to which providers are violating the law."
Federal prosecutors say the dispensaries operate outside of California law, which permits only primary caregivers to dispense marijuana and bans sale of the drug for profit.
Sources: Reuters, MSNBC, AP
video
Wow, this video induced a tear-what wonderful  humanitarian work (sarcasm)

Harborside’s “Dos Centavos”

WELCOME TO HARBORSIDE :Message to Harborside Patients

On Tuesday, July 10th, DEA agents taped a notice of property forfeiture to the doors of our facilities in Oakland and San Jose. These notices threaten to seize the properties we are located in from our landlords.
Harborside has nothing to be ashamed of, and will contest the Federal actions openly and publicly, with every legal means at our disposal. We look forward to our day in court, and are confident that justice is on our side. Come what may, we shall continue to care for our patients unless we are physically prevented from doing so.
Harborside is not in imminent danger of closing. We intend to keep the commitment we made six years ago to provide our patients with safe access to the medicine their doctors have recommended, for as long as we possibly can. We will never abandon you.
Our patients can help by providing their e-mail addresses, which will enable HHC to send you updates, and if necessary action alerts. We are also looking for patients who would like to participate in further activist efforts to keep the doors of Harborside open. Please speak to a receptionist or intake staff if you are would like to volunteer.
Steve and Andrew DeAngelo, Dave Wedding Dress, and the management and staff of Harborside Health Center look forward to working with our patients, other dispensaries, activist organizations, and political allies to confront and stop this latest effort by the federal government to frustrate the will of the voters, and deny medicine to those in need. Our fight may be long, but it is just, and in the end we shall be victorious. We look forward to being there with you when that great day comes.
 MEDIA ALERT!  For Immediate Release: July 11. 2012   11 AM
Thousands of Patients Threatened to Lose Safe Access
U.S. Attorney & DEA Threaten
Harborside Health Center Landlords
Property Forfeiture Filed in District Court of San Francisco
Invitation to Attend Press Conference
Oakland, California - Thursday July 12th at 9 AM -  Oakland City Hall
With Appearances and Statements by Patients, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, State Board of Equalization & City Officials, Union Officials, Arturo Sanchez, LEAP Officers, Rebecca Kaplan and Other Statewide Officials.
July 12, 2012 – Oakland, California - The federal attack on safe access for medical cannabis patients continues. Yesterday morning, taped to the front doors of the nation’s model medical cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland and San Jose, was an official 'Complaint for Forfeiture of Property.' The complaint is signed by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arvan Perteet, and DEA Agent David White, filed on July 6, 2012, in the District Court San Francisco Division and received by the court on Sunday, July 9. The complaint seeks forfeiture of real estate and improvements on the grounds that cannabis is being distributed on the premises, in violation of federal law.
This latest federal action to seize property flies in the face of promises made by Haag to exclusively target dispensaries less than 1000 feet from a school, and recent statements from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who stated that only those dispensaries out of compliance with state law would be subject to Federal enforcement actions. Harborside Health Center is neither close to a school, nor out of compliance with state law. The location at 1840 Embarcadero is more than 1000 feet from the closest school, and Harborside is widely recognized as the most legally compliant dispensary in the state, and renowned nationwide.
“Harborside has nothing to hide or be ashamed of," said Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center. "We will contest the DOJ action openly and in public, and through all legal means at our disposal. We look forward to our day in court, and are confident that justice is on our side.”
Harborside Health Center employs over 100 people, and is Oakland’s second largest retail tax payer. Last year, HHC paid combined taxes in excess of $3 million, over a million dollars of which went directly to the City of Oakland. Should Harborside be forced to close:
Ø  Our 100,000 patients will return to the illegal marketplace
Ø  Street drug sales and law enforcement costs will both rise
Ø  Over $3,000,000 in tax revenue will be destroyed
Ø  Our more than 100 current employees will become jobless
“This is a policy that hurts not only those who depend on cannabis for medicine. It will destroy tax revenue, endanger patients, increase unemployment, and empower criminals. Whoever thinks this is a good idea must be smoking something a lot more powerful than cannabis,” said DeAngelo.

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46 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! The government lied again? Said they would never go after these guys. Who can we trust now? The Zetas? Maybe they did not pay the quota.

Anonymous said...

It look's like the US government is going after Harbor Health Center for exposing them on the discovery channel.

John said...

Chivis: Why the sarcasm regarding the video? If you have been to Bay Area dispensaries, you would know Harborside really IS professional and the best "model of the industry" that there is probably. For example, many places require just your medical card to enter and purchase, they go a step further and require you to have your medical card as well as your recommendation on file and with you each time you enter. Then you must take a 30 minute "introduction" class to the dispensary your first time.

Medical marijuana IS real, sure people use it for other reasons than just AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma, but if you are using it to sleep, how is that any less a legitimate use than being prescribed Ambien for the same thing? Or using it to ease social anxiety, just like Xanax or buspirone. Or using it to stimulate your appetite, etc.

Chivis said...

John:
First and foremost I think that are a sham, and joke and I am against these outlets. But I do not blame the Dispensaries I blame a spineless government and people that compromise.

Either in or out with legalizing MJ, and I say in. As for your argument of what a wonderful service it is for the infirm. You know as well as I that the overwhelming majority of “sick” people using these places are not sick at all, they want it for recreational use. It is a bogus industry. But the feds should lie off. They tried the crackdown in SoCal and it blew up in their face.

I went with a friend to get a RX. She actually wanted it to create recipes to sell MJ baked goods to the Dispensaries. SO she decided to see if she could get a RX. and I wanted to witness the process. Her neighbors told her a nearby place to go.

The “doctor” was in a room sitting in a folding chair at a card table. We waited our turn, went in. She got hers in less than 60 seconds, and he turns to me and asks “did you need one also”? That, my friend is a sham.

That is the sarcasm.....Paz, Chivis

Anonymous said...

The “doctor” was in a room sitting in a folding chair at a card table. We waited our turn, went in. She got hers in less than 60 seconds, and he turns to me and asks “did you need one also”? That, my friend is a sham.

The real sham is it being illegal in the first place. If alcohol is legal, it should be legal. Period. All of these federal agents will meet up at a bar an high five each other over a series of alcoholic drinks. If it was a "gateway" drug, it wouldn't be classified as being more dangerous than heroin or coke. Meth is so bad!!! And we waste money fighting a weed when we can be directing that money towards fighting meth! Stupid.

Anonymous said...

Funny ass video(its a damn joke)...notice the names of most of their patients,I guess it runs in the blood,their parent where probably hippies,naming their kids like that.......agree with u Chivis.!!!

Gizzle said...

Chivis

Im from LA and we got same things going on. And I think they are a sham as well. I am also waiting for the day that they legalize it. These places that write scripts all day for CASH ONLY are no bueno. And such inflated prices on the herbal itself. There's nothing like growing your own batch of beautiful herb but so many scummis fuckin shit up

Gizzle

SFV and LOS ANGELES AREA. Dub hills

♪♫lito brito♫♪ said...

i totally support legalization..BUT..these guys egos are so huge that they would take up all the room in a sports stadium...their smirky arrogance , massive profiteering and overall presence is a major turnoff to ordinary people

Anonymous said...

What a joke,of course they're in it for the $$....notice the names of their customers,maybe their parents where hippies of the 60's....must run in the blood.!!......

♪♫lito brito♫♪ said...

i got yer back on this B shameless shamsters like this actually get in they way of real debate and action..LEGALIZE,REGULATE...not this "grey"area bullshit

Anonymous said...

What a joke.!!! Of course they're in it for the $$...notice the names of their patients,maybe their parents where 60's hippies....must run in the blood.

scoop said...

Exactly why it needs to be fully legalized,medical marijuana just creates another blackmarket in which there is just a professional process. Marijuana is natural and unaltered. People are smoking synthetic crap now that was chemicals sprayed on it and nobody knows what the F it is. Why should pookie get all the profits, hes not paying taxes! Sale it everywhere and let the government reek the benefits of huge tax revenues. Xanax and ambien have more side effects but the lobbyist are so deep in political pockets they arent going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

holder mustve been gettin a cut for allowing them to flourish for as long as they have

John said...

Ok Chivis, but you didn't address my main point which was how is using it "simply" to help you sleep, or help relieve social anxiety, or make you feel better any less legitimate of a MEDICAL use than using Ambien, Tylenol, Xanax, or Oxycontin for the same issues? They have a synthetic, prescribed or over-the-counter pharmaceutical for anything you could think of, so if you can replace that with a natural plant, again how is it any less legitimate?

Anonymous said...

FUCK THE FEDS LMAO

Anonymous said...

I think the feds past/made these laws to keep tabs on these guys,in other words they set you guys up.

Anonymous said...

looks like the DEA is incapable of catching the Mexican drug smugglers so they go after easy pray to make they quota and pat them-self on the back for a easy job well done

Anonymous said...

The cartels are loving this, keeping them in business.

Anonymous said...

@ Chivis.. you are so on point. I totally agree with you. I am for legalizing marijuana... however.. the pro-marijuana people.. the people who smoke da weed.. took advantage of a weak system..they flaunted it in the face of people that they can get marijuana legally.. and it made people mad. Baby steps! You have to introduce the concept to people slowly.. and you have to say NO to people who could potentially ruin it for everyone else.. example.. the fucking kids who were 'SICK' and really weren't. the pot shops were greedy.. didn't think long-term as a group/whole.. and now they are getting shut down. If they stuck to doing it legitimately and actually serving the people who were sick. I work in an area where there were 5 pot shops open.. i saw kids come into the stores.. buying pot.. coming out.. smoking the weed right in the car in front of the shops. YOu don't think this was going to attract attention? I think the crackdown will serve a good purpose ultimately because it will tone down the bad aspects of the pot shops. Those medical marijuana cards cost $60 bux.. and that's all you had to do to to get it.. PAY. You didn't have to be sick. Look.. i agree everyone should be able to smoke weed.. i'm not against it morally. But you have to be smart about it.. it's a new thing.. don't get greedy, and stupid.. just like anything that involves the law.. try to keep a low profile and attract attention. By the way all the shops that were near us got shut down. And all of them at some point or another had an issue with serving someone who wasn't sick.. or sold it illegally.

Anonymous said...

Nice dress...

Anonymous said...

If they shut down all the dispensaries that means I make more money and I sure don't pay taxes the government rather spend time and money chasing us around and watching us for years than to profit off this beautiful creation of nature and boost the economy., fuck the Feds

Anonymous said...

That clown should be locked up for wearing that dress in public.

♪♫ lito brito ♫♪ said...

yeah i got to add ..how can you take serious ..what should be taken serious ...

when some payaso gordo is wearing a dress..come on, these flagrant culeros are in the way of progress

they turn it into a greedy money grubbing clown show

Anonymous said...

I have always been on the Anti-legalization side of mj, but I have come to realize that maybe legalization may be the for the best. I have to agree that pot is a better alternative to most prescription drugs, especially if it is grown and monitored for purity, no chemicals. I do think we should derive tax dollars from the sale and production, where as the illegal dealers pay no taxes. I personally have never used or have no interest in using pot or any other drug. I avoid using the legal meds prescribed by physicians as much as possible. In most cases prescription drugs create more problems than the illness they were prescribed to treat. I still have issues with the visual displays and the pot drug culture look. I think the pro legalize groups do themselves a great disservice by the way they choose to display themselves. If their goal is to have the right to run a legitimate business, and sway the public in favor of deregulation of marijuana then I think a more professional look would help. I think if you take the giggling, goofy looking pot head stereotype out of the picture, legalization would be more acceptable to the general public. (just my observation)

Now for a personal question: How safe are the cruise trips that go to Cozumel, have a relative going soon, should I worry. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Are there piles of dead bodys lying in California from hitmen associated with any pot shop?

Anonymous said...

The federal government is a bunch of Nazi criminals violating the Constitution - it's time for violent revolution to overthrow these despots.

Anonymous said...

The sham is that there has to be a doctor involved at all. The government does what large corporations tell it to do. Then they turn around and say government is bad. And that sham has a large crowd of suckers singing along.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above, too fast and too soon. It is a great concept, but like with anything, our greedy human nature takes over and we ruin it for the folks who legitimately are in need of this service. My uncle passed away from leukemia last December and if marijuana is an aid in helping cancer patients with appetites and pain management, why take this away from them? Don't let idiots with fake medical issues spoil it for others! Very true on the prescribed drugs as well, you can go to your Dr and say "oh I feel stressed" etc and bam Xanax, Ativan, you don't think people abuse those and shop around Drs, please! I have anxiety and have chosen to deal with it via therapy, not drugs. We have become way too dependent on them and Drs as well as the pharm companies are more than happy to make $$$ off us!

Anonymous said...

Then what do you call all the pharmacies in mexico that will sell you anythig from Oxicontin to Ketamine in the drop of a hat? A sham?? The only reason marijuana is illegal is because of the big drug companies and big liquor companies lobbying to keep it illegal.

Anonymous said...

Well when a population wants something they vote on it, if passed then it becomes law. If people want their pot and the lobbiest are holding them back then they will play by the rules and set up some cardboard industry to facilitate it. That simple. Really the only reason it became illegal was because William Randolph Hurst pressured the govt to do so when the prooduction of hemp paper threatened his news empire. Marijuana really is the story of america, from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson growing it and farmers mandated to grow it throught the various wars to the villifying of mexicans throught marjuana. Funny irony thought, the mexicans are still here, pot is illegal and the ones across the border are making the money not the govt, hilarious!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course they have to shut it down. Legal weed is bad for law enforcement funding and bad for the cartels.

Anonymous said...

i agree with 1:37 AM.
WHAT'S with the friggin' purple dress, dude???
Great way to inspire people and get some credibility.
Ya' think??

HAHAHAHAHA !!!

Anonymous said...

Wut you dont understand my friend is that of someone is using marijuana for recreational purposes then so be. They are bein healthy by making thr choice to rather use marijuana than other drugs. Alot of people have mental problems, not serious one but little one that still affect out lives like anger problems ,anxieties, depression, eating disorders, Thry cant sleep right, they can't live right due to bordem and the strains of this earth such as dum stuff happening like for example the war on a plant Wich is enough to piss me off everyday. If a doctor can prescribe me cannabis. Then I will get it. Its a way to show the goverment that this plant should not be illegal and I'm going to get it legal or illegaly. Cannabis gives one a feelin of self happiness and no one can take that away from us. These governments just want it illegal so they can eventually invade Mexico and take over the rest. Narco terrorism is what they will call it. Preventing drugs is what they say they will do. But in reality its stealing and raping what the u.s government shall do

Anonymous said...

That's what I was taking they just want these easy trophies. Dam I hate them
Why don't they try busting cartel members. Nah the DEA knows most of them wont return to their families if their family ain't dead yet haha. The DEA loves to bust down kids for marijuana and legitimate businesses

Anonymous said...

The Feds sure hate to see someone they Dont like making money

Anonymous said...

It aint funny.

Anonymous said...

Yeya man,you look like the best advertisements for your program.Look at that pair of old farts,sittin there like dyin old motherfuckers thinking they look cool.Dayyyum what a pair of pricks.Man,i hate hippy motherfuckers.These are the soft fuckers,like you see on here whining about videos."Can't we stop the violence,peace man"No we fuckin can't,human beings like some violence,it juices you.You would know that if you ever do it.Mr policeman,likes a bit of violence and training,am i wrong mr policeman?
Just being real as a motherfucker,unlike most of you,who say it cause you cowardly,not because you really believe we can all exist with one another,have a look around you?

Anonymous said...

what is that goof wearing?

Jesus Christ!

Hitler knew what to do with clowns like this.

Chivis said...

Hey Briiiiito...
Where you been????
Question:
What does the family say about Mty? Seems relatively quiet, all things considered. Have you been haging there recently?...Paz, Chivis

Anonymous said...

This is fucked up, I rep Seattle where we have medical marijuana too, and i understand how this is really fucked up. Some people need this medicine to help them cope with very real problems such as epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain,or even the withdraw symptoms from real drugs.
Why do the Feds think its ok to prescribe drugs like Oxy Cotton, but not marijuana?? They can make money off of weed too.
fuck the feds

♥ lí┬σ bRí┬σ ♥ said...

hey B ..Konda guey ...i have been spending some time at my cabin..off the grid...i have a garden and have been trying to keep it from burning up ..fue muy caliente y seco agui ....

all quite in Monterrey...i think Peña Nieto has had an effect...as soon as he took power...Monterrey settled down...nothing at all happening...BUT..the talk is that los Zetas are in control...so just like we thought... the zeta king is in..el nuevo matador???..but really who knows...

i will be there in the first of august..i will post my take on it then...

congrats. on being a moderator..you go girl...jajjajaja

Anonymous said...

Frontera said: Why is it some agree with Central Gov. control such as forcing the Catholic Church to include contraceptives, but disagree with they enforce Fed. Law against MJ?

Chivis said...

Brito..
Sure would like to think I am wrong about Pena and the future. But actually Mexico is in lame duck mode but calderon still controls the fed army and agencies.

I sent two kids to Mty in the past couple weeks and the parents say it is quieter and not that tenseness in the air. So I wonder whats up. I see the numbers of death down....paz, chivis

♠ lí┬σ bRí┬σ ♠ said...

@B

yeah ..well when he made that speech saying he was gonna relent on the cartels ..but put pressure on crimes like robbery levantons.carjacking..street crimes ..that was the word...business as usual..but no more messing with the civilians..

i think that was the deal..PRI gets the support...the cartels are left alone ..and the streets are safe ...mebbe that is as good as it is gonna get ever..

i am not the one to blame the USA..BUT..as long as the demand is here..the supply will be met...but as long as the principles are just killing each other...and leave the common people alone..so be it...

cynical resignation?..yes...

Anonymous said...

cynical resignation?..yes...
What an asshole

Al quds said...

The. Feds. Want you to get pot the illegal way
so you can vist there jails/Holocaust and fine you
Just 3 months ago I got busted for a little nug
Of bud/marijuana and it wasn't even a 1gram
Just a small stinky nug and the judge was trying to fine me $745.00 I thought it was. Fucking outrageous so I just did the community/Communist service and paid it that way. it makes me think who's really the criminal.me or the Nevada judge.

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