Feds raid Oaksterdam University

Posted on April 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Dozens of federal agents on April 2 raided Oakland's famed Oaksterdam University and the Lake Merritt area apartment of its owner Richard Lee, California's most prominent cannabis advocate. The armed agents, some wearing face masks, came to the locations with a battering ram, sledgehammer and power saws. Agents from the DEA, IRS and Marshals Service carted away loads of cannabis as well as numerous file boxes, did but not reveal the purpose of the raids, other than to call it part of an "ongoing investigation."

Also raided were three affiliated sites: the former dispensary location of Coffeeshop Blue Sky; the new site of the dispensary at the Oaksterdam Museum; and the Oaksterdam Gift Shop. Some 100 activists gathered outside the locations, heckling the agents, and shouting "Shame!" and "DEA, go away!"

"Clearly, they're trying to knock down one of the leaders in the cannabis reform movement," said Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University. "This is really an attack on regulation," she added, noting that without regulation, "what's going to change is who is selling it, the good guys or the bad guys."

Joe Elford, chief counsel for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, had stronger words: "For them to go after someone who's as high profile as Richard Lee likely sends a message that they will go after anyone anywhere in the state over medical marijuana and that Obama's promises are hollow." (East Bay Express, April 4; San Francisco ChronicleLAT, April 3; NBC Bay Area, April 2)

Photo by Global Ganja Report



Richard Lee steps down as Oaksterdam mogul

Global Ganja Report's picture

Richard Lee is stepping down as leader of the Oaksterdam institutions in the wake of the raid, he told the Los Angeles Times April 4. "I never wanted to be the quote unquote leader of the legalization movement," he said. "I saw myself as just one small soldier in a big war. But I look at it as a battlefield promotion."

Oaksterdam University and the affiliated dispensary remain open for business, but Lee said he plans to transfer the businesses to new operators. He added that he will close his cannabis nursery because his stock of mother plants was confiscated in the raid.

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Apr 6th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

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