Photo: Discovery Channel
Weed legalization advocates scored a rare victory Monday when a judge ruled that a medical marijuana dispensary that claims to be the largest in the world can remain open in Oakland and San Jose, Reuters reported.Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.
But that didn’t stop U.S. prosecutors from shuttering hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries last year, The New York Times has reported.
The city of Oakland has fought against federal authorities’ efforts to close Harborside Health centre, a high-profile dispensary featured on Discovery Channel’s reality show “Weed Wars.”
Reuters reports that federal prosecutors were pressuring Harborside’s landlords to evict the shop – the latest development in the federal government’s ongoing battle against what it argues are “illegal” marijuana shops across the West coast.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Marina Elena said the government, not the landlords, has the authority to evict Harborside for allegedly violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Oakland collects more than $1.4 million in taxes from the dispensary’s pot sales, according to Reuters. And a recent study by medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access found that medical marijuana generates nearly $100 million in yearly tax revenue for the state.
Federal authorities took legal action against 71 dispensaries last fall in the Los Angeles area alone.
California NORML, an organisation dedicated to reforming marijuana law, estimates that nearly 40 people are currently being prosecuted or serving time behind bars for operating a marijuana dispensary in California, and at least 30 more cases are pending.
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