Oakland Officials Slam Prosecutors Over Marijuana Crackdown
Officials in the city of Oakland rebuked federal prosecutors on Thursday for seeking to shut down a medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world's largest in the latest clash over a federal cannabis crackdown in Western U.S. states.
The criticism came a day after federal prosecutors announced lawsuits seeking to seize two properties housing the Harborside Health Center, a California cannabis dispensary that gained attention when it was featured on the reality TV show "Weed Wars."
"I am deeply dismayed that the federal government would seek to deprive Californians of this vital medicine," Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement released by her office and read at a news conference held at City Hall by Harborside's owners.
"These actions will force patients into the underground market of street corners and back alleys, undermining public safety and endangering their health and lives," Parker said.
The move against Harborside is the latest to target what federal prosecutors say is a flourishing network of illegal cannabis suppliers operating across California under the cover of the state's medical marijuana law. Pot operations in several other Western states have also been in the federal cross-hairs.
The crackdown comes amid a growing chasm between the way many states and the federal government treat marijuana, which is allowed for medicinal use in 17 states and the District of Columbia even as the federal government continues to class it as an illegal narcotic.
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