Federal agents with DEA, IRS, raid marijuana trade school Oaksterdam University

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator April 2, 2012

    WANTED: For spending $1.5 million to try to legalize marijuana and for providing truthful education about it.

    OAKLAND — Federal agents swooped in Monday morning to search Oakland’s Oaksterdam University in Oakland, the state’s first cannabis industry training school.

    Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division are searching the university at the corner of 16th Street and Broadway, in the heart of the city’s widely recognized downtown cannabis-oriented district, authorities said.

    The university has been cordoned off by yellow caution tape.

    Arlette Lee, an IRS spokeswoman, said she could not say why the agents were there other than to confirm that they were serving a federal search warrant.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/02/BABJ1NTK9T.DTL#ixzz1qtvKIJo3

    [UPDATE!] You can view video from yesterday’s federal raid, coverage of today’s march and protest in San Francisco, and also read Richard Lee’s first public statement since the DEA and IRS took action against him here.]

    Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University, was the man who poured $1.5 million of his own money into the Prop 19 effort in 2010 to legalize marijuana in California.  That effort garnered the greatest-ever support for statewide marijuana legalization at 46.5%.

    Wall Street bankers looted and wrecked the economy? Eh, whaddaya gonna do? People are learning the truth about marijuana and its prohibition in there? Better send in federal agents right away! (Photo: Oaksterdam)

    Oaksterdam was founded in November of 2007 to provide training for the caregivers and collectives providing cannabis medicine to California’s medical marijuana patients.  But rather than just establish a “grow school”, Richard Lee also seeded the curriculum with classes covering the entire cannabis industry, including how to address the political and legal impediments that prohibition of cannabis for healthy people imposes on getting medicine to sick people.

    The recent “crackdown” by the four US Attorneys in California, which has included threatening letters to landlords of medical marijuana dispensaries as well as outright raids of longstanding, community-approved outlets like Berkeley Patients Group, has been devastating to Oaksterdam’s enrollment.

    There is now no doubt in my mind that this is a full-court press by the Obama Administration to squelch the voices of legalization, retard the propagation of truth about marijuana, and stall our growing political momentum long enough for the campaign donors in Big Pharma to get cannabinoid pharmaceuticals through the FDA approval process.

    Colorado and Washington – 2012 is THE year.  Failure to pass legalization this year gives the government four more years before they have to worry about serious attempts at legalization.  By then, a few more states will have passed medical marijuana laws without home grow.  By 2016, Sativex and other cannabinoid pharmaceuticals are brought to market.  Those states without home grow will then begin switching their state-run dispensary patients to Sativex.  States with home grow will be under great pressure to do the same.

    [NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano adds: I have tremendous personal respect for Richard Lee, having advocated along side with him in support of Prop. 19 — the statewide initiative he boldly and generously spearheaded in 2010 — and having lectured at Oaksterdam University, the groundbreaking educational facility he founded. On more than one occasion I ended my lectures at O.U. by highlighting the difference between changing public opinion and changing culture. Richard’s activism — opening the nation’s first brick-and-mortar cannabis ‘college,’ bankrolling Proposition 19 which nearly succeeded in legalizing the adult use of marijuana in California, and revitalizing downtown Oakland — fell into the latter category. He was changing the culture. And that is why the federal government and the Obama/Holder administration is trying to silence him today.]


    113 responses to “Federal agents with DEA, IRS, raid marijuana trade school Oaksterdam University”

    1. Denver WMD says:

      Our government is disgusting! Federal intervention is a crime. They need to be baned from our states. A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities. WTF!

    2. Matt says:

      This is outrageous. When the common man peacefully assembles an educational school, creating jobs, revitalizing a downtown area, you’d think that it’s a positive outcome. I PITY our government for stepping in on Oaksterdam University. It’s time to grow up “Big Brother”.

      *I ask Norml to please feel free to use any of my writing to help aid the educational reform and legalization of cannabis.*

    3. Don says:

      I have a great deal more respect for Richard Lee than I expect to ever have for our Federal Govt!!!

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      I think the worst thing to happen to my country in my lifetime was the ascendency of Ronald Reagan and the conservatives to power. They taught us deficits don’t matter and established the ONDCP, an inept, cruel bureaucracy. There is no more urgent need for our country than to keep these self-aggrandizing incompetents out of power.

      But I will NOT vote for Obama in November even if the Republicans run someone other than Romney.

    5. Really Fed up with our Govt actions on this. Were going to need a revolution to remedy this issue.

    6. John says:

      Nodding head is all I can do. I wonder how much it cost tax payers money for this raid. Fuel resources, paying the agents hourly and over time, yellow tape, the time it took the judge to sign the warrant. Could not imagine. Fucking morons, Why is the U.S. in debt again? Answer: It’s right in front of our faces. Dumb shit like this.

    7. Joel: the other Joel says:

      More reasons not to vote for Obama’s re-election.

    8. Fox says:

      This kind of thing makes me sick. We the people. That is right in the constitution. We are a part of the government too. Just because we elected you doesn’t mean we gave you free reign to control everything in our world including what we ingest into our bodies. If we hand over control and just accept these things, what will happen? Horrible things. I believe in the right to explore your own consciousness and be free from pain and ailments. There will be change in this world, im sure of it. The movement for legalization is too big to be shut down. Marijuana has been a part of peoples lives for so long, it won’t just disappear. It’s been in use as a medicine for over 2000 years and suddenly a government makes a decision based on lies to outlaw it? I think that will change, people are more aware of the things going on in the world more now than ever.

    9. Duco says:

      Am for legal Marijuana ! But 90% of the Pot Shop’s in Cali are Black Market. The use people’s med cards! To have a loop hole to grow Big Rooms! An send it thur the mail! That is Drug dealers!!! I f the State an Goverment would just make it legal ! People say the reason they don’t is because they can’t control it. Well they can.(simple SEEDS) you have to have SEEDS! Out Door Mexican does not grow inside. people need to understand that Marijuana is here to stay! An at a avg. of 4,000$ a pound! Well now you SEE.

    10. David762 says:

      It is beginning to look more and more like either President Barry Soetoro doesn’t expect to win re-election, or that the 2012 national elections will be rendered moot.
      Does the President & his advisors truly expect that Republicans will cross party lines to vote for “the best Republican ever”, or that the left will continue to support this President as he reveals himself to be more and more authoritarian?
      Does the President intend to invoke martial law, perhaps in conjunction with an unprovoked military strike against Iran, thereby canceling or indefinitely postponing the November elections?

      IIRC, didn’t George W. Bush or one of his associates state upon vacating the White House that we would miss him? As a life-long leftist who is also a Constitutionalist (libertarian leftist), I am sorry to publicly acknowledge that “Yes, I do miss you, Dubya.”
      At least he wasn’t the totalitarian dictator that Barry Soetoro has revealed himself to be.

      If you support individual liberty and the limitations on Federal government imposed by the USA Constitution, vote for Ron Paul in November even if he is NOT on the ballot. It’s easy. Register to vote. Register to vote via mail. Write in the name “Dr. Ron Paul” as your Presidential candidate of choice, in the blank space provided. Get your absentee ballot certified, along with a certified copy, which you will want to save. Mail in your ballot “Registered Return Receipt” quite early, or hand-deliver it and obtain a receipt. Done. —-

      Well, almost. USA voters need to critically analyze the voting record of all your other elected representatives, and if they support draconian martial law legislation instead of increased individual liberties — if they support the rise of the National Security Surveillance Police State instead of the Bill of Rights, then vote them Out Of Office, period.

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