If you’ve been under a rock since Election Day — or, ironically, engulfed in a hazy stupor — you’re forgiven for missing stoners across the country raise their spliffs in celebration, as Washington and Colorado voted in bills to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
The logical next step came last weekend from California Governor Jerry Brown, who implored the federal government to “recognize the sovereignty of the states” and leave to them the handling of marijuana laws. Currently the federal government does not recognize state marijuana laws.
Pot proponents across the country hopes legalization will be the beginning of the end of a long fight for personal rights in responsible marijuana usage.
These steps forward, and particularly Governor Brown’s proclamation, come none-too-soon for Bay Area medical dispensaries. One such marijuana dispensary is California’s largest, Harborside Health Center in Oakland. In today’s climate, that’s enough to get you targeted by the federal government, albeit while operating wholly within state laws.
Steve DeAngelo, founder and executive director of Harborside, told KTVU that he operates under constant worries of being busted. DeAngelo told KTVU:
“None of my staff know when we come to work in the morning whether we are going home at night or we’re going home to prison.”
Harborside recently pushed back against the federal government by filing a lawsuit for attempting to close down the dispensary. This week, the Berkeley City Council voted on whether to lend legal support to this lawsuit.
DeAngelo nevertheless seems confident this chain reaction will continue in his company’s favor. He told the Huffington Post:
“There is no doubt in my mind that we will see an initiative on the ballot either in 2014 or 2016.”
The only question that remains: Will these changes come in time to save Harborside?