Currently, the District of Columbia has the highest rate of arrests for marijuana possession in the country. (Photo : Flickr)
California continues to show its resilience against marijuana law regulations. On Tuesday, the "world's largest pot shop" said it will remain open and continue to sell marijuana despite a ruling rejecting a suit filed by the city on behalf of the dispensary.
The Harborside Health Center in Oakland didn't care that U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James dismissed the city's lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who both advocated for the closing of the pot shop. Haag believes that the store has become too large of an operation and is in direct violation of federal law, according to Reuters.
California is one of the 18 states that allow the use of medical marijuana, yet the drug is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. The battle between state and federal legislation continues as more and more states have become increasingly lenient in their laws against marijuana in the past several years.
"We are, of course, disappointed in today's ruling," said Harborside executive director Steve DeAngelo. "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."
Harborside has been dubbed the "world's largest pot shop" with 108,000 patients and spending almost $20 million annually. Oakland filed a suit in October to prevent the dispensary's closure as it has generated $3 million in annual tax revenue. Harborside advocates believe that its contributions to state and federal tax will assist in its mission.
"We appreciate the ongoing support of our fellow citizens and elected officials, along with the fairness and toughness 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."
Oakland attorneys argue the closing Harborside would devastate the health and well-being of many residents. Medical marijuana has been legal on a state level in California since 1996, but over the past year and a half, hundreds of dispensaries have been shut down, leaving thousands without work.
Harborside's pros seem to outweigh the cons in this federal vs. state battle, and the dispensary will continue to fight for its prosperity.