Oakland Marijuana Dispensary's Future Goes To Federal Judge

A federal judge will rule on Harborside Health Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Christie Smith
    Marijuana at Harborside Health in Oakland.

    A federal magistrate will decide the fate of one of Oakland's biggest businesses on Dec. 20: Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the United States.

    It apparently all depends on when five years begins.

    The dispensary is subject of a property forfeiture action initiated by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in July, according to reports. Haag wants to seize the building at 1840 Embarcadero in Oakland, where medical marijuana has been distributed since Jan. 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    The dispensary's landlord, Ana Chretien, has since filed an eviction proceeding seeking to remove her tenant and save her building.

    The City of Oakland has also stepped up, and claimed that the federal Justice Department had a chance to step in and stop the dispensary and blew it.

    At issue is the statute of limitations. The statute for selling illegal drugs is five years. The city believes the feds' window to shut down Harborside ended in Jan. 2011, five years after Harborside opens. The feds say that the statute restarts every time an illegal drug is sold -- which happens seven days a week at Harborside.

    The hearing is Dec. 20 in federal court in San Francisco.