Supreme Court Deals Blow to Oakland Medical Program

In a blow to municipal power to regulate medical marijuana, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Oakland's appeal of last year's ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the city cannot help defend Harborside Health Center in federal court.

The Justice Department has been trying to shut down the flagship dispensary on the Oakland waterfront—dubbed a "superstore" by U.S. attorney Melinda Haag. The city of Oakland tried to intervene in the case, asserting that Harborside's closure would rob the cash-strapped municipality of millions in tax revenues.

But all isn't lost for Harborside.

Back in November, District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco ruled that the Justice Department illegally violated a congressional measure that bars the feds from using tax dollars to target dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws. The Supremes may hear that next, and if they uphold Breyer's ruling, Harborside will be home free. 

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