Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feds Raid Oaksterdam University Who Don't Even Sell Pot

Phillip Smith
StopTheDrugWar

Federal agents raided Oaksterdam University and associated businesses in downtown Oakland Monday morning shortly before 8:00am local time. The entire building was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape, and an hour later, agents were spotted carrying trash bags filled with unknown materials to a waiting van.

Also hit in the early morning raids were the nearby Oaksterdam Museum, the Oaksterdam gift shop, and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club. None of those businesses actually distribute medical marijuana.

The Bay Citizen reported that Oaksterdam founder Richard Lee had been detained at his home and that four university plant tenders had been arrested. The Bay Citizen also reported that the former location of Lee's Blue Sky dispensary had been raided.

Oaksterdam University is the beating heart of the Oakland cannabis revival, which has helped revitalize the city's downtown core. Founded in 2007, it was the first institution in the country devoted to providing instruction in medical marijuana cultivation.

Owned and operated by Richard Lee, who put his personal fortune into getting 2010's Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana on the ballot, the university has trained thousands of people in how to grow their own medicine and other aspects of medical marijuana business. It has also served as an organizing center for the Bay area medical marijuana movement.


Medical marijuana defense groups, such as Americans for Safe Access, were mobilizing their members Monday morning and calling for supporters to head to the scene. They did so in large and angry numbers, shouting obscenities and imprecations at the federal agents. Oakland police were called in for crowd control after protestors spilled onto Broadway. Two people were arrested during the protest.

Federal officials were tight-lipped, with IRS spokeswoman Arlette Lee saying little more than that the raids were part of "an ongoing investigation."

Federal officials have been cracking down on California dispensaries for the past year, breaking with an earlier Obama administration stance that it would not bother operations that were in compliance with state law.

While in some cases, the federal crackdown has been assisted, or even instigated by, local officials, that is not the case in cannabis-friendly Oakland. The city has worked closely with medical marijuana providers and derives substantial tax revenues from them. It recently announced plans to double the number of dispensaries in the city from four to eight.

A previously scheduled press conference and protest march in San Francisco set for Tuesday should be even more energized after Monday's raids directed at what many see as the heart of the California medical marijuana scene.

Please visit StoptheDrugWar.org to help end prohibition.

Watch video of the raid below:

MediaRoots.org


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are wrong: "Oaksterdam Museum, the Oaksterdam gift shop, and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club. None of those businesses actually distribute medical marijuana."

The museum does distribute because blue sky was closed down along with the alternate blue sky. The museum was the last place selling weed.

Anonymous said...

It's way past time for every state legislature to start throwing the feds in prison without trial for this crap. There is NEVER any corpus dilecti in these drug cases, and there is ZERO authority for the feds to legislate in ANY way concerning drugs. These criminal shits need to be thrown down a 1,000-foot well, and then have a 20,000-ton boulder tossed on top for good measure.

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