tv Inside Man CNN December 29, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PST
power that they have. so, you know, at some point, we have to say we should do what's right. you know, rather than just what's easy. marijuana -- the burning weed with its roots in hell. >> marijuana has not always been hated by the u.s. government. in fact, before 1937, it wasn't even considered an illegal drug. but after prohibition, the government needed a new evil to go after, so they formed the federal bureau of narcotics and put marijuana near the top of the hit list. they've been hating on pot ever since. but in 1996, california became the first state to legalize medical cannabis and 18 other states followed suit. now with more and more states not only decriminalizing, but legalizing marijuana, can the federal government still believe
that pot is as dangerous as heroin? and what will it take for the feds to respect state cannabis laws? turns out, one particular dispensary in oakland, california, could decide the fate of medical marijuana for the entire nation. >> time the go sell some weed. get ready. ♪ in california where we are right now, medical marijuana has been legal since 1996. and once it was made legal, there was a proliferation of dispensaries where people could go and get marijuana, you know, marijuana products.
once they started popping up, then the department of justice started clamping down on them for being illegal. so while it is legal in california for them to sell medical marijuana, it is illegally federally for these places to exist, so it is a catch 22. i don't know, but it is going to be really interesting to see where you should draw the line. is legalization the answer or just opening up a much larger can of worms and a potential for more problems, because that is what a lot of people will argue. the minute you legalize it, we will become a nation of unemployed good for nothing sitting around eating twinkies and not having jobs. >> but in order to purchase or let alone smoke any of that illegal marijuana, i have to go see my doctor. hello. good. is this your first time doing this? >> yes, it is. >> please fill out the questionnaire.
>> i understand under the federal act, that marijuana is highly addictive and potential for abuse -- and it is for treating serious and debilitating conditions, and i acknowledge that i have been advised not to drive vehicles or operate machinery or participate in any active they that requires analytical activities while under the influence of cannabis. have you used any of the following drugs -- opiates, mushrooms, lsd -- a lot of damning information to this questionnaire. >> thanks for filling this out. >> yeah, thank you. >> okay. so, let's see. morgan spurlock, you are 42 years old, and you would like to use marijuana, and you think it might help you for anxiety and insomnia, and you have talked to
the doctor about your insomnia? >> i have. >> and did your doctor have any recommendations? >> yes, he gave me some xanax? >> do you that prescription bottle with you or not? >>do. >> so the fact that you have a primary doctor, i do a brief physical exam. don't fall asleep here now. >> it wouldn't take much. >> i can tell. i see no reason why you shouldn't try the marijuana. i will make out a recommendation for you, and different strains will help you sleep and different strains will help you to be more alert. and for some people, it can create a little bit of paranoia and anxiety, and depends upon the strain. >> i don't need more paranoia in my life. >> no. most of us don't. >> yeah. >> there it is. wow. not only do i now have a card that makes me the ability to buy cannabis in the state of california, but because i have
this form, which i was even more shocked by, now i have the ability to grow marijuana, and in the state of california and in san francisco, i can grow up to 24 plants in my backyard if i so wanted to. now that i have my card, the next stop is over in oakland bay. harborside was founded in 2006 as a model of what a medical marijuana dispensary could be. this is the largest dispensary in the united states, but according to the feds harborside is the largest illegal drug distribution center in the country. and today -- >> hello, man. >> i'm harborside's newest hire. harborside faces an uncertain future, and federal efforts have forced a closure of more than 600 dispensaries in california alone. u.s. attorney melinda hague has
pursued harborside with a vengeance, but they have decided to fight back. within a month, the courts will decide whether or not harborside can continue to do business in california. >> it is a lot nicer than i thought it would be. it looks like a pot health clinic. it smells like my college bedroom. >> steve d'angelo is the executive director and co-found over harborside center. >> welcome to harborside. >> nice to meet you. >> you, too. >> what are the ailments that people are seeking when they come in in here for treatment, what is the scope? >> well, we see everything from very serious illnesses like cancer, hiv, aids, epilepsy to things like anxiety, depression and insomnia, and lot of patients with chronic pain. california law allows doctors the write a recommendation for any condition that can cannabis is active for, and it turns out
that cannabis is effective for a wide range of conditions. >> so what is the first thing that happens? >> well, the first thing that happens is outside. the patients show their cannabis photo i.d. before they are admitted inside. >> so you can't just walk in from the street? >> right. three patients to come through the door. new patients, returns patients and other patients who are bringing us remaining medicine to distribute to the other patients. we come in and double-check their cannabis recommendation and make sure that you have not exceeded your maximum amount of visits or amount to purchase and then you can go on to the floor to select your medicine or to take advantage of some of the services available here. we offer acupuncture, and tai chi and yoga and reiki and other services. we also have a low-income
patient program to allow you with some degree of medicine for free. and now we go into the secure area. >> the first stop is here, the intake department. >> this is the most weed i have ever seen in my life. >> well, you know, when you have 600 to. 800 people coming through, you have to keep some medicine in stock. >> all of the members who are part of the harborside collective are called in to have their cannabis evaluated for quality and purity. and then they have a machine that tests the potency of the plant. you guys invented that? >> yes. >> you are like the eli whitney of marijuana, and that is your cotton gin right there? >> yes. >> and the weed has to meet stiff standards.
it is steps that are taken to insure the safety and the quality of the medicine, but according to the feds, every step is illegal. >> step over here and i will show you what the typical process is for the patients to select their medicine. cannabis contains 65 unique medical compounds called cannabioids and there are 600 strains that we know about. now, the interesting thing is that unlike varieties of wine all of which make you feel basically the same, each variety of cannabis has a slightly different effect. harborside classifies four major different types of cannabis. there are either indica or sativa dominant. >> what is the different?
>> well, indica produces a more sedative, relaxing and pain controlling type of effect where sativa is more uplifting and energizing effect. so we encourage patients not to consume raw cannabis flowers by means of smoking. so if i had a patient who came to me and complaining of chronic pain that woke them up at night for insomnia and what they really wanted from the medicine was the ability to get a good solid night's sleep, i would probably recommend to them one of these capsules here. >> what are these? >> these are capsules made from the patients. >> that is not all they make. tinctures for nausea and skin cancer lesions, and even lotions and salves and treatments for
all kinds of ailments. >> it is very important that patients have a wide range of varieties of cannabis and also a wide range of forms of cannabis medicines. >> and you might have guessed that harborside does a wide array of business and it is true. and while it is to show the rest of america that this is a substance not to be afraid of, but really something to embrace. >> but why a nonprofit? why not say we are making $25 million a year and we should make it a for-profit business to make some money? >> well, because the california law requires us to be a
nonprofit, and we are committed to being 100% compliant to the law, and we take that nonprofit mandate very, very seriously. but if they saw fit to make this activity a profit-making activity. then we would make that a profit-making business. >> i bet you would. >> what is the plan for tomorrow? >> tomorrow at 8:30, an all staff meeting. >> what is the plan? and we will update and discuss the legal situation. >> i am blown away by how well the business is organized. and it is really impressive.
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attorney general filed forfeiture proceedings in 2012 meaning that harborside's property and assets are vulnerable to seizure. even though they are compliant with the california law, the california government used the dispensary as a criminal organization, but harborside is going to fight back and they have an unusual ally in the corner, and the city of oakland has taken the city to court to keep harborside up and running. this marks the first time any city has taken the u.s. government the court over its marijuana laws. >> so the next big test is going to be december 20th. it is going to be a really historic day of hearings and critical constitutional issues about the power of localities and the cities and the states and the relationships to each other will be discussed and implicated in the case. it is a case of huge national importance. first we will hear a motion from
the city to stop all of the proceedings. if the judge hears a motion on that day, it stops everything in its tracks and will never resurrect it again. but then we will hear motions from the landlords to ask the court to ask us to cease and desist selling cannabis. if we win, we will get our day in court and we will win. we will be in front of a bay area jury, ab all we have to do is to prove that more harm will result from closing harborside than results from allowing harborside open, and i can make that case to the jury with my hands tied behind my back and my eyes blindfolded and a gag in my mouth. if we lose those injunctions, we will be issued with a cease and desist order. so what that means a that while we may be looking at a situation
where we may need to adapt the business model, but one thing for sure and certain, we will keep the commitment that we made to our patients six years ago, and more than six years ago to provide them with the highest quality medicine and the highest quality patient care possible. we will never ever abandon the patients who depend on us. attention harborside, attention harborside. it is 10:00, and harborside is open. all remaining staffs, please turn your channel to 3. >> how are you doing? >> good, brother. what do you need today? >> here is the cheese drain. that is really interesting. >> i also need a single dose cube of dark chocolate.
>> you are here with your son? >> yes, this is my son. >> what do you use it for? >> heel spurs and carpal tunnels. >> diabetes. >> i have a herniated disc in my back and it helps the muscles relax. >> can i smell the haze? >> yes, you can. >> chocolate chip. chocolate chip. chocolate. >> what were you take before? >> i was taking anti-depressants and synthetic hormones and sleeping medication and something to combat the side effect from the antidepressant. >> and medication to deal with other medication. >> yes, i took it for three days and it made my kidney start to bleed. i'm a young guy, and i didn't at the time want to deal with that. i feel fine after i smoked the right kind of strain. >> a lot of seniors grew up as
did i did thinking that it was something only jazz musicians did, you know. but, we have all evolved. i mean the whole country is evolving. >> hug it up, man. >> great to see you. >> great to see you. i will see you tomorrow? >> yes. >> okay. thanks. have a good night. >> you see this place is all about the love. that is what i like. not any attitude or angry people coming in. nobody is screaming. nobody yelling. it is all very kind of calm, cool, collected. it's nice. stand inside of a liquor store for an hour and see who comes stumbling into a liquor store, and it is filled with angry people. there is not a lot of happy people wandering into the liquor store. very different vibe here. next customer. why do you like this place? it is a really well run establishment. it is clean, and everyone is friendly and nice here. >> and so that is pre-tax and
before tax. how are you? >> good. >> what is your name? >> captain bob. >> so you are a veteran? >> i spent a lot of time in vietnam. >> is that where a lot of the pain comes from? comes from then? >> oh, yeah. no question about it. >> what kind of injuries did you have coming out of vietnam? >> well, i have three bullet holes in the leg. i don't take anymore vicodin or any other pills. >> you are off of them? >> nothing. i go home with some of this and i sleep good and i'm not in pain. >> see you next time you come in. thanks. >> thank you very, very much. i appreciate it. >> thank you very much. >> don't let them sons of a bitches close you up. >> thank you, robert. what you wear to bed is your business.
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america, and so he was able to get it classified as schedule i narcotic carrying the same legal ramifications if you were caught with heroin or today, methamphetamines. marijuana has three key straits, the substance has high potential for abuse, and it is not accepted use in medical treatment in the u.s., and deemed unsafe for use under medical supervision. it costs the system $40 billion despite the fact that marijuana is far less addictive than tobacco or alcohol which accounts for hundreds of thousands of american deaths each year. >> continuing the war on california pot shops. >> two valley pot shops have been shutdown by the feds and this is important, the shutdown came without warning. >> the two dispensary raids come in regards to the connection of a large marijuana raid in the stockton warehouse.
paperwork shows that the dispensary goes to matthew davies of property management in stockton. >> he was indicted for the very marijuana he sold in his two dispensaries. matt is facing a criminal prosecution as a result, and matt with a mba and a wife and two young children is facing up to 40 years in federal prison. >> the case of matt davies more than any other case in the country demonstrates the conflict between state law and federal law with regard to medical marijuana. matt davies is facing charges for manufacture of marijuana even though the people of california voted overwhelmingly to permit medical marijuana use. matt worked hard to follow the state law and read the statements by candidate obama and now president obama and the justice department saying that if you follow the state law, you
will not be prosecuted by the federal government, and those statements that matt relied on happened to be false. >> thank you, everybody. thank you. >> it was in 2008 when then candidate barack obama called for dea raids a waste of taxpayer money. >> what i am not going to be doing is to use justice department resources to circumvent this issue. >> are you prepared for the oath? >> i am, sir. >> he made the campaign statements official policy with the justice department releasing the ogden memo which suggests that the government would no longer focus resources on individuals whose actions were in clear and unambiguous compliance with the state laws. basically, if you were using or growing marijuana for medical purposes in states where it is legal, you would not have to worry about the feds knocking down the door.
this shift led to dispensaries proliferating across states that had previously legalized it. but contradictory to what the ogden statement said in the following two years of the release, the department of justice actually increased the raids. in 2011, as the crackdowns continued, the justice department released a subsequent memo saying that the marijuana medical patients would be free from prosecution, but not industrial growers. by april 2012, the number of dispensaries raided grew to nearly 200 and resulting in over 60 federal indictments which is more raids in the first four years of the obama administration than the eight years of the bush administration. >> harborside was a model that we looked to and were happy with. we thought that steve was a pioneer in the industry, and we thought that he was definitely somebody to look at to do it right. the only way we diverged which
became the downfall, we knew that steve was beholdtone the wholesale market, and thus the patients were paying much higher prices really than they should have to. we thought how can we do it better than steve? we can vertically integrate to lower the price of medicine so we can offer the same equivalent product that steve did at 40% less. >> there you go. >> when i plotted my worst case scenarios, the idea of federal intervention was never one of them. i was naive for trusting our government and believing what they said. >> today, i don't accept that my husband is going to prison. i'm afraid of it. but i don't accept that it is going to happen, because i think that there has to be someone who sees the situation and realizes what a gross miscarriage of justice it would be to put him in prison.
>> dispensaries can't stay open without a steady supply of product to sell. cannabis is a plant and for harborside to operate, someone has to grow it. in california, dispensaries are state licensed, but not any of the growers. leaving them with no real legal protection and living under the constant threat of prosecution. once targeted, a growing operation's legal consequences can be much more severe than a dispensaries as they are often subject to severe mandatory sentences. so i'm locked in the back of a blocked out van? where in northern california being driven to a undisclosed location where they grow vast amounts of marijuana, and there are stipulations that we cannot
show you the people who work there, or show you the people's faces that work there or hands or body parts. this is not sketchy at all. we are driving into a building right now. you hear the dogs? they are closing the doors so we won't know where we are, and they are getting out. when it comes to growing operations at least in the eyes of the federal government bigger is not better. every time california or any other state has attempted to license a large growing operation, the government has stepped in and prohibited them from doing so. the growers rarely publicize their operations out of fear of being raid and arrested. this grower agreed to take us around the facility, but out of
fear of prosecution, he made us alter his voice and identity. in the eyes of the government is this legal? >> in what government? >> in the state? >> we are compliant and we are not. >> and so would you be arrested or confiscate anything? >> well, we don't know. nobody really knows. every story is different. this is actually a room that is just set up to go into flowering. >> okay. this is like such a massive setup, and this is only one room. >> yes. >> how many rooms like this do you have? >> two. i would say this is a small to medium-sized commercial facility with hundreds of lights here, and this city has no industry, so without us, the city would be worse than it already is. they say that 1 in 3 warehouses in the city are closed. >> 1 in 3. wow!
that is amazing. so these are all of of the ball lasts that are for all of the rooms in the air and you have air ventilation system that keeps the air moving and these are the charcoal filters and what each one of the charcoal filters does is to filter out the air so you won't get that marijuana smell. and here in these two rooms is about $500,000 of materials before they grow plant number one. it is -- it's unbelievable. whoa! look at this. holy cow. it is like a cheech and chong dream in here. when you harvest, how many pounds would come out of marijuana plants? >> a pound per light. >> so about 50 lights? so you are hoping for 50 pounds? >> yes. >> and let's do the math. the current price of a pound of og skush $2700. and this room of lights would be 50 lights, and so that would be $135,000 from each room.
so when you take out the room, it is going to be about $540,000, and once you pay the employees and the dividends, how much do you make at the end of the year? >> well, you would have to ask it at the end of the year. i have not cashed a check for being positive, but the reason for being here is because i believe in the movement. >> well, thank you for taking the time today. i appreciate it. see you on the other side.
staking its reputation on patient service, today, i am experiencing this firsthand going out on the newly minted delivery service. with the constant threat of having their physical location shutdown, harborside started the delivery service to continue to get the medications to the patients. how much deliveries in a day? >> 25 to 40 deliveries in a day. >> what are the customers like? people who can't travel or old or what is it? >> you get a pretty good mix. some people just enjoy the convenience of it, and there are a lot of senior citizens. there's patients who are
quadraplegics and veterans, and some people just can't get a ride or they have lost their ride. i know that there are patients who have lost their ride because of the person who used to give them the ride is sketched out because of the federal attention and some people don't want to come to the main dispensaries. >> where is the most interesting place you have made a delivery? >> a church. i did not personally make the delivery, but i know one of the drivers had to go to the church. >> is what you do legal? >> what we do is legal in the state of california. of course, federally, it is still 100% prohibited. hi. >> hello. >> in the delivery, i.d.s examine and checked with the same thoroughness as if at the dispensary. >> okay. there is $53. >> and because of the crackdowns on banks and credit card companies with the dispensaries all of the harborside transactions are conducted in
cash. why is marijuana such a important part of your life? >> i have a history of being underweight. i go down to 80 pounds which is not good. but if i will smoke a little before each meal, i find that i can eat more. >> what happened to the foot? sh. >> this is the purpose why you are over here visiting myself today. >> what happened? >> i broke my ankle. >> gabrielle is a care giver for her husband, a veteran who did three tours of duty and currently struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. >> how long has your husband been on medical marijuana now? >> three years. >> how was it before? >> oh, that was not a pretty picture. because we have to give him medicine that was making him more numb, and not getting any results. versus using pot. he's always under control. he can be someone that i can manage to be around and not
afraid, because a lot of the times when they are, when they get out, they like to be isolated. they don't like to be around many people. we have kids. you need to be around. >> and do you have like friends or families who think it is a mistake that you give it to him? >> my grandmother. my grandmother, but she is 95 years old. i can't change that. hello, hello. >> hi, how are you? >> i'm good. come on in. i'm not trying to be a vegetable, and i'm not trying to be on something that i won't ever be able to get off of. >> right. >> with many of the pharmacological things are about. >> when you went off of chemo, what about the natural remedies, and going on the the cannabis and the hemp oils do for you? >> they help me sleep. that is very, very important when you are trying to heal to get the regenerative sleep, and the brain function is coming back, and i have five beautiful
children and six gorgeous grandchildren and i love them all. so, i want to be around. i want to be around, but i want to be around and i want to be effective. >> why so much pushback just not in california, but across the country with regards of medical marijuana? >> because the pharmaceutical companies want to keep us so wrapped up in taking the pills and just pushing, pushing, pushing and against what is natural and what we can do for ourselves and how to find new ways to stay healthy and this whole mindset that you feel the pain and you go to the doctor and you go to take a pill, and that is supposed to make you well. so, i just really think it is about money. >> sondra may have a point, because 3/4 of americans are in favor of medical marijuana. 18 states in washington, d.c. have formally legalized it for medical use, and 14 states have decriminalized pot, and most recently washington and colorado have outright legalized it altogether.
so if the country seems to be in favor of decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing it for medical use why is the federal government so steadfast in the opposition? well, one reason could be the lobbyists. the alcohol industry, for-profit prisons and rehab centers stand to lose billions of dollars from pot's legalization, and law enforcement as well as many government departments and career politicians could lose jobs if the war on pot ends. industries like these have a history of not letting anything get in the way of their profits. >> u.s. attorney melinda hague issued a statement about harborside which i find to be compelling. she basically says that she now needs to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as harborside, because the larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there is going to be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws and marijuana in hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need. so basically what she is saying
is that you are so big and successful, and because of that, we want to make sure that by attacking no illegal ones pop up. we want to basically shut you down. it is kind of dumbfounding. so i want to call melinda hague and see what the word is from her. yes, i'm trying to reach melinda hague. >> you have reached the voice mail of melinda hague. please leave a message after the beep, thank you. >> i'm trying to reach melinda hague. this is morgan spurlock calling and i wanted to speak to you about harborside medical and the forfeiture legal actions brought against them. if you could call me back when you have a chance. nobody there. we will keep calling. >> i'm not able to take your
call right now. please leave your name and number and reason for the call. >> morgan spurlock calling for melinda hague. >> i'm not able to take your call right now. >> yes, we are trying to reach melinda hague's office. >> once again, it is morgan spurlock, hope you are well. thank you. nobody is going to talk to us. it is evident nobody is going to talk to us. we are going to keep trying. hey there, i just got my bill, and i see that it includes my fico® credit score. yup, you get it free each month to help you avoid surprises with your credit. good. i hate surprises. surprise! at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card and see your fico® credit score. there's no secondhand smoke in here...
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with the court date in just a few days, we are heading to san francisco to meet up with the lawyer who represents harborside health center. harborside is operating in dangerous legal waters. no dispensary has ever successfully fought back against the federal government, and no city has ever come to a dispensary's aid like oakland. the city sees harborside as the very model of a responsible business estimating it has taken $20 million out of street dealer's hands. >> i'm morgan spurlock. >> nice to meet you. >> why did you decide to take on their case? >> i admire what they are doing. i enjoy taking on challenging cases. >> it would be most unfortunate if harborside were closed down because the federal government would be depriving the states and the other dispensaries of a model they should aspire to emulate. harborside and you, and you and harborside are the first medical marijuana cannabis dispensary
that has stood up to the medical government. they have done it to other dispensaries, but they have quietly closed down. >> why do more people not fight back? it is expensive and scary, and the odds are overwhelming and very few people are willing to stand up to the united states of america, and that is what he is willing to do. he is willing to make a sacrifice for what he believes in. this is the united states of america versus harborside. >> the day steve d'angelo has been waiting for is finally here. chief federal justice maria elena james is hearing their motions, and she could effectively shutdown harborside for good. >> i came from kentucky. i love you. i love you. i love your brother. >> i know if i died tomorrow that my life's work is going to be accomplished, and i don't think that the drug warriors
like melinda hague can say the same thing. >> thank you so much. >> all right. all right. there's henry. okay. >> the precedent-setting ruling today will likely shape the future for cannabis for patients and proprietors and for all of the states with these laws on their books. >> i'm all set, baby. >> we are going to win. >> absolutely. that is what we came here to do. >> for steve, a win is everything. a loss would be devastating. what ya looking for? well, you've found delicious! ♪ ♪ must be the honey! ♪ it is so honey swagalish ♪ so much crunch, can you handle this? ♪ ♪ the party in the bowl don't stop! ♪ ♪ must be the honey!
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steve has received the ruling from the judge, and a meeting to announce the decision to the harborside staff and supporters has been called. >> i am happy to report to you that the federal judge in our case, the judge elena maria james ruled in our favor and said that harborside does not have to stop selling cannabis, and the landlords cannot force us to stop selling cannabis, and our doors are going to remain open.
>> even though this is a great victory for harborside, the federal government is still focused on shutting them down. the next step is a trial, and only time will tell if the will of the people is more powerful than the 42-year-old laws of the federal government. >> people will look at steven and say, he is some crazy old stoner running the business, but i think that what he is doing is to really change the tide in perception of what medical marijuana is. i think that he is proving that there is a market for it. he is proving that there is a need for it. and i think that he is proving that there is a way to do it safely, efficiently, and what we are really starting to do to turn people around to this notion when they see it is a business and not shady guys on the street corners and people hanging out with tank tops and selling drugs, they will see that it is people running clean
establishments that are safe, that ultimately, not only generate revenue for the city, but generate vast amounts of tax revenue for the country. i mean, it could really change things. >> and if the government decides to regulate and tax, we might soon be calling the bureau of atf, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and marijuana. on february 14th, 2013, judge james ruled that the city of oakland had no standing in suing the federal government on behalf of harborside and threw the case out. harborside is still awaiting a trial date to present their case in front of a bay area jury, the case will most likely be decided in 2014. facing the possibility of a much longer sentence, matt davies accepted a plea deal to send him to prison for the mandatory minimum of five years. as for u.s. attorney melinda hague, i have called, and called
and called and -- nothing. that is what i am getting from the phone calls right now. ♪ hey, america, remember the good old days? no, not those good old days. i'm talking about the ones we had just a few years ago. home ownership was at an all-time high, unemployment at just 5.6% and falling. it seemed like we were all on the road to riches. it almost seemed too good to be true. well, guess what? it was. when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, millions of americans fell on hard times. some lost everything. and in one way or another, most of us are still recovering. the thing is, it's not just people and businesses who have suffered. >> jefferson county, alabama filed for the largest municipal