A federal magistrate has cleared the way for federal prosecutors to shut down an Oakland medical marijuana store, despite efforts by the city to block the move.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James ruled Thursday that the U.S. is immune from the city challenge to the federal forfeiture action against the club.
Oakland, which had granted city permits to the Harborside Health Center to operate, sued the U.S. government after the feds tried to seize the property housing the dispensary.
Harborside has operated in Oakland for six years and has revenues of $20 million a year. It operates under California’s law allowing medical use of marijuana. However, use of marijuana for any purpose remains illegal under fedral law.
“The principle of sovereign immunity limits the subject matter jurisdiction of federal courts,” James wrote. “The United States, as sovereign, can only be sued to the extent it has waived its sovereign immunity,” she said.
She concludes that “the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action, making dismissal appropriate.
The Harborside case is one of a series of forfeiture action being used by federal prosecutors to shut down medical marijuana clubs.
Case: City of Oakland v. Holder, No. C12-5245MEJ