Feds Drop Bid to Close Oakland Dispensary

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — In a significant win for the marijuana industry, federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a nearly four-year effort to shut down Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, believed to be the nation’s biggest medical cannabis dispensary.
     The dispensary has been threatened with closure since July 2012, when the U.S. Department of Justice began civil forfeiture proceedings. Although medical marijuana is legal in California, it is still prohibited under federal law.
     Harborside’s attorney Henry Wykowski told Courthouse News that the government’s decision is a “significant milestone” for the medical cannabis industry.
     “It means that they’re not going to go down this road again,” Wykowski said about the federal government. “They realized the winds have changed and that these cases are just not worth pursuing anymore.”
     A recent federal law prohibits the Justice Department from using funds to prevent states that have legalized medical marijuana from implementing their own laws regulating the substance. Federal prosecutors have dropped a similar case against the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana.
     The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
     Wykowski said he expects the department’s court papers to be filed within the week.

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