By Ronnie Cohen
SAN FRANCISCO | Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:46pm EST
(Reuters) - The city of Oakland, engaged in a heated battle with federal authorities over the fate of a large medical marijuana dispensary, argued in court on Thursday that Washington was ignoring science by cracking down on medical pot.
The city, in a novel lawsuit seeking to block U.S. Officials from forcing the dispensary to close, says the federal government's own scientists have found medical benefits for pot and have secured a U.S. patent for use of the drug, even as prosecutors have targeted medical cannabis dispensaries.
"In the (federal) government's world, there is no science," Cedric Chao, who represents Oakland in the case pro bono, told the judge on Thursday.
The legal fight before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James centers on Harborside Health Center, an Oakland outfit that bills itself as the world's largest medical marijuana dispensary and was featured in the Discovery Channel television series "Weed Wars."