Oakland Sues Feds To Defend Medical Marijuana Dispensary - NBC Bay Area

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Oakland Sues Feds To Defend Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Oakland city government has sued the federal Justice Department to defend a medical marijuana dispensary.



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    People chat near the parking lot of the Harborside Health Center, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. The Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world's largest is scheduled to announce the results of a year-long Internal Revenue Service audit. Harborside Health Center, which is on pace to do $28 million in annual sales this year, is defending its practice of deducting millions in business expenses such as salaries and overhead. The IRS is evaluating if the deductions were allowed under a tax code provision dealing with �expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of drugs.� (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

    Harborside Health Center, the largest medical cannabis dispensary in California and by extension the world, is getting help in its fight with the United States Justice Department, which has vowed to close the Oakland dispensary down.

    In response to the Justice Department filing asset forfeiture proceedings against the dispensary, the Oakland city government filed suit against the feds in federal court on Wednesday, according to reports.

    Oakland's lawsuit, the first filed by a local government on behalf of a marijuana dispensary, says that the feds knew about Harborside's activities but blew the deadline for taking action against it, according to the Associated Press.

    The feds are also overstepping their authority by interfering in Oakland city law that licenses and permits dispensaries, according to reports.

    Oakland does have a stake in this matter: Harborside, which pays a local gross receipts tax as well as state taxes, is one of the city's biggest taxpayers.

    Harborside pays $3 million in taxes annually, $1.2 million to Oakland directly, according to reports.

    Harborside is due in court on US Attorney Melinda Haag's effort to seize the property it is renting on Nov. 1, according to reports.

    Harborside has been in business since 2006.