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Tue Jul 9, 2013, 03:35 AM

City of Berkley Files Claim to Protect Dispensary From Feds


"The City of Berkeley has filed a claim aiming to protect the city's largest medical marijuana dispensary, Berkeley Patients Group, from closure prompted by the federal government. In May, US Attorney Melinda Haag targeted the dispensary's landlord for asset forfeiture, a bullying tactic that has been used regularly in the feds' war on state-sanctioned, legal medical pot programs. Now, Berkeley is fighting back.

On May 21st, the city adopted a resolution opposing the forfeiture on the grounds that Berkeley Patient Group has “contributed significantly to our community, providing good jobs and paying millions of dollars in taxes. They have improved the lives and assisted the end-of-life transitions of thousands of patients. They have been active supporters of dozens of Berkeley community organizations.”

On Wednesday, the City filed a claim in US District Court asserting that the closure of Berkeley Patients Group will hurt the city via loss of revenue (including taxes paid by the dispensary), while subverting the City's hard work and resources invested in the control and regulation of medical marijuana, a program intended to treat ailing Berkeley residents.

“Medical marijuana is legal under California law. The federal government, against the wishes of the community, is undermining Berkeley’s concerted efforts to control and regulate medical marijuana distribution within its borders. The U.S Attorney’s action harms patients, the community, and the City -- and benefits no one. It is pure folly; sadly, it is also deeply destructive folly," Senior Staff Attorney at Drug Policy Alliance, the group representing the City of Berkeley, Tamar Todd said in a press release."

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