Daniel J. Rush, a union official who has been at the center of a four-year FBI investigation, sat on the front bench in a federal courthouse in Oakland waiting to enter his plea in a lawsuit filed by the US Attorney’s Office that alleges he was involved in attempted extortion, money laundering and receiving illegal payments.
Oakland resident Sableu Cabildo was diagnosed at the end of 2011 with a kind of brain cancer known as an astrocytoma. It originated on the right side of her thalamus, the lobed mass under the cerebral cortex that acts like the brain’s switchboard, regulating sensory perception and motor functions. Because of the cancer, Cabildo has been steadily losing her short-term memory and her balance. She stutters sometimes, and to be on the safe side, doesn’t drive at night anymore.
To alleviate some of the symptoms of her cancer and the harsher side affects of her medications, Cabildo, 34, has a medical marijuana prescription. It’s helped to calm her mood swings and improve her diminished appetite. It also dulls the pain from the migraine headaches caused by her disease. It lets her sleep at night.
He might direct the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country, but Steve DeAngelo isn’t scared of the government’s attempts to shut it down.
“The federal government has thrown everything they had at us and we met them and we pushed back,” DeAngelo said, referring to Harborside Health Center, where he serves as founder and executive director. “It’s a drug war machine that’s bound for extinction.”
Following the federal raid on Oaksterdam University last April, Dale Sky Jones found herself with an incredible task: rebuilding the school from the ground up. Not only had Richard Lee, Oaksterdam’s founder and director, just stepped down—assigning Jones to take over his role—but during the raid, federal agents had gutted the university entirely. As Jones took on the responsibility of providing for the students, staff and volunteers who had already signed on for the spring semester, the rest of Oakland’s burgeoning pot industry was left wondering what lay ahead for their businesses and whether they, too, were vulnerable to raids or legal action from the federal government.
One year ago, federal agents raided Oaksterdam University, a move that sent ripples throughout Oakland’s well-established cannabis industry and raised questions about the complex and often conflicting web of state and federal regulations surrounding medical marijuana use and patient rights. In this four-part series, Oakland North will examine what’s changed since last year’s raid, who was affected the most, and what may lie in store for medical marijuana use here in Oakland.
This year, voters must choose whether to give a full four-year term to current City Attorney Barbara Parker or to longtime District 1 Councilmember Jane Brunner, both familiar faces in Oakland politics. When Oakland voters nixed Measure H in 2011, they decided how the city would select a city attorney this year. Until 1998, city officials appointed someone to the office, but under that year’s “strong mayor” initiative, the position became an elected one, which was held by John Russo…
The city of Oakland filed a complaint Wednesday against the federal government in order to stop officials from seizing the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, claiming the government took too long to take legal action against Harborside Health Center and that the federal statute of limitations regarding seizures has expired.
From Occupy Oakland activists and anti-war protestors to medical cannabis advocates and people using polar bear mascots to protest against oil drilling in the Arctic, President Barack Obama’s fundraising stop in Oakland on Monday night drew vocal dissent and equally vocal support from different local groups.
Oakland’s dispensary ordinance, which has been on the books since 2004, is lauded by city officials—a staff report from the City Administrator’s Office published in July, 2011, calls it “a role model for the nation”—and is generally well-respected among local dispensary owners who consider it fair to them and the city. It requires that dispensary operators follow certain rules: sharing annual financial audits and personnel records with the city, making sure there’s proper security and safe access for patients, and making sure clients aren’t a nuisance to the neighborhood.
But there could be major changes brewing for how Oakland’s dispensaries are regulated.