by David Downs
The nation's biggest pot club, Harborside Health Center, is waiting for Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James to decide if it can keep selling pot in its Oakland and San Jose locations — and the decision could come down at any moment.
Local U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is trying to seize Harborside's two locations unless it stops selling state-legal medical cannabis, so Harborside's landlords have asked a state judge, and now a federal judge, to issue a preliminary injunction barring sales. Judge James seems well-versed in the case — and skeptical as to whether the club has to stop selling pot immediately, considering it had done so openly for six years without drawing a raid and criminal prosecutions.
If Judge James bars sales, Harborside's legal funds might dry up. If Judge James denies the landlords' motion for preliminary injunction, sales can continue, but the club still faces a federal forfeiture proceeding — and it's in the middle of a years-long tax dispute with the IRS.
For more legal details, Lee Romney with the L.A. Times did a bang-up job here.
As we all wait, let us watch PBS' Newshour six-minute video feature on the debacle, which aired Dec. 24.
Watch Oakland Dispensary Takes Leading Role in Pot Showdown on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.