World’s Largest Pot Shop; High Hopes Harshed By Ruling Against Harborside Health Center [VIDEO]
The world's largest pot shop, the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Calif., will remain open despite a recent court ruling that denied the dispensary's right to fight an order to shut its doors by Attorney General Eric Holder. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James dismissed the City of Oakland's suit against Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag that had sought to block Harborside's closure. The world's largest pot shop is, well, too large to stay open under guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2010.
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"We are, of course, disappointed in today's ruling," Steve DeAngelo, Harborside's executive director, said in a statement. "In the meantime, Harborside will continue to provide our patients with the very best cannabis medicines we can find, in the safest and most beautiful environment we can create, with the very highest level of care and service."
The world's largest pot shop boasts more than 100,000 customers and takes in about $20 million every year. It generates about $3 million a year in local tax revenue, and also contributes to state and federal coffers as well. That explains why the city of Oakland is backing DeAngelo in the fight to keep the world's largest pot shop operational, even though federal attorneys argue the city has no right to be involved in the legal dealings for the world's largest pot shop.
"We appreciate the ongoing support of our fellow citizens and elected officials, along with the fairness and thoroughness Judge James has exhibited throughout these proceedings," DeAngelo said. "We continue to look forward to our own day in court, and are confident that a Bay Area jury will recognize Harborside's positive contributions and decline to shut our doors."
Patients who rely on the world's largest pot shop are also hoping the federal government doesn't shut down their local dispensary. Their biggest question is "where will I get my medicine?" Some of the patients filmed testimonials for a video supporting the world's largest pot shop.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 when voters passed Proposition 215. However, medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law. In late 2010, the Obama administration launched an aggressive crackdown on California's flourishing cannabis industry. Dozens of smaller dispensaries have been shut down in California, making it more difficult for people suffering from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other ailments to receive treatment. Some worry that is the world's largest pot shop is shut down its patients will be forced to buy marijuana from illegal street dealers instead.
"The crazy allegation is that because of our size, we're doing something wrong," DeAngelo said. "It's crazy because by virtue of our size, we're able to do things like develop special formulations. Nobody on the street can replicate that -- most other dispensaries can't replicate that."
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