The Obama administration, wishing to take control of some California state laws, dismantled the Harborside Medical Center. Harborside is known as a center that provides patients with the medical form of marijuana, which is permitted under state laws. The story ended in 2016 when the court returned Harborside to its previous activities.


The Harborside Health Center case is the largest drug-related facility located in Auckland, California. The main activity of Harborside is to provide patients with a medical form of cannabis. The center states that it has always conducted only licensed and legally non-criminal operations, and even the Discovery Channel back in 2011 broadcast a small four-part reality show called Weed Wars, where viewers around the world could learn about the work of this non-profit company.

It is important to note that even though the sale and storage of marijuana were officially banned in California, a particular form of cannabis for medical purposes was not prohibited.

In California in 2012, there were fierce battles between local laws and the administration of President Barack Obama, who said that he intended to close and dismantle legal, medical facilities for cannabis distribution within a year. Since the start of this action, federal agents and officials have argued that such liquidation would focus only on those extradition centers that violate specific state laws. Still, Harborside Health Center received a warning letter in mid-July.

During those months, Auckland saw the local population rallying to keep the center operational. The Obama administration was convinced that the operation of such a large facility (the largest in the entire country, with an average annual income of about $25 million) could not be transparent and accurately linked to fraud and illegal drug trafficking.

Several California congressmen, defending a medical center, said that the U.S. Department of Justice had gone too far because it acted against state law. The Harborside medical clinic and DEA story ended four years after the beginning. It was not until 2016 that the legal case against Harborside was dropped, and the center was able to return to its previous activities. Thus, starting in 2018, anyone over 21 years old can obtain a medical form of cannabis for health-related purposes.