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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped its civil forfeiture action against Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA. The case was brought by the DOJ back in 2011 as part of a federal crackdown against legal state medical cannabis dispensaries. The dropping of the case was at least in part the result of a Congressional amendment which prevents the DOJ from interfering with those abiding by their state medical cannabis law. This marks the second time in recent weeks that the feds have dropped a case as a result of the Congressional amendment.
In April, the DOJ dropped their appeal against the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM). In that case, Judge Charles Breyer ruled in October, 2015 that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which Congress first approved in 2014, prevented the feds from proceeding unless they could demonstrate there was a violation of state law. Without any evidence of the state law violation (and also not wanting to risk losing a precedent setting case), the feds ultimately dropped their appeal of the October ruling.
Although court documents have not yet been released in the Harborside case, it is become more and more clear that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment is having a genuine impact in preventing federal prosecution of those in compliance with state medical cannabis laws. ASA was perhaps the first to clearly articulate the amendment's intent and proper application.
ASA congratulates Harborside and their lawyer, Henry Wykowski, for their successful efforts to get the feds to drop their case. The Harborside and MAMM victories are proof that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was not merely symbolic.
However, the amendment must be renewed every year by Congress in order to remain in effect. The permanent path to ending the federal crackdown on state medical cannabis programs must come through direct legislation, such as the CARERS Act. You can help do your part to permanently end the federal crackdown by taking part in ASA's action alert to pass CARERS.