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. Lucko says:

      well, it was great, folks. looks like this is the end.

    2. claygooding says:

      Please gather at your local courthouse/state capitol/DC on 4/20,,,go clean and go loud!!!

      Party at Russ’s house afterwards,,,;<)

    3. thunderoustundra says:

      I’m glad the Obama administration can waste so much time prosecuting the medical marijuana industry instead of the financial sector.

      Clearly, the government has its priorities in order when Wall Street rejects are being given high level positions within the government while people like Richard Lee are being treated like criminals.

      I’m going to go vomit in disgust and then take a bong rip to help with the nausea.

    4. Joe says:

      Richard Lee is doing something good. We can all share the truth like him.

    5. Alex Barrage Fakename says:

      WTF happened to Obama’s promise to leave states with medical legal alone?

    6. Danny Threet says:

      I broke my back3 years ago. I have been using a medication that has side effects that are terrible. I have gotten to were I have gotten free from them unless necessary. I started smoking again a year ago and have no withdrawl symptoms from the marijuana and it helps my back so i dont have the Govt. paying my way thru life. The bad part about it is I can have Oxycodone 7 times a day legally,yet the state of Fla will throw me in prison for having pot. Give me a Fucking Break. Child Molesters get less time than a guy with a quarter oz. The pot has enabled me to go to a construction job and am able to work and pay my bills and take care of my children. Thank you for hearing my story

    7. Jbkorn02 says:

      People have to keep fighting. Screw Obama and all of the lies he tells.

    8. Msgt Vance says:

      Prohibitionists at both the State and Federal level have pursued the policy of prohibition with a religious zeal matched only by the Catholic Martyrs of Roman times. This has led to a war with a policy that allows for no reasonable end and requiring the Government to arrest ever more citizens in the quest for total victory.
      Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws in place allowing for the medical use of marijuana and in the 2012 election there will be ballot initiatives calling for full legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Missouri are all working to put full legalization on the ballot this year.
      The Federal Government has responded to the push for legalization by pushing back. The Government’s actions look like a ’surge’. A ’surge’ is when you insert a large amount of troops into a situation to tamper down the violence and allow for negotiating an end to the conflict. We did this in Iraq and we are now negotiating with the Taliban and the Afghan Government for an end to the Afghan war. In the Drug War the Government is stepping up operations and enforcement almost as a swan song to the policy of prohibition. Remember last year when the Drug Czar tried to rename the War On Drugs saying it’s not really a war? You don’t hear him saying that anymore! How long will the ‘surge’ go on? How many citizens will have their lives turned upside down in this misguided effort that only proves the fallacy of the Government’s position on drugs? There is no telling. I hope the President isn’t so hypocritical as to be working the drug war for nefarious reasons, but I’m an incurable optimist. I cure my optimisim by always being prepared for the worst and here it is!

    9. Msgt Vance says:

      Mr. President this raid has just cost you a possible 22 million votes. This is nuts since most Americans feel the Government should end marijuana prohibition you should actually get it over with before the election rather than wait till after. That will earn you votes. Cracking down between now and the election will cost you votes. Those are votes that could cost you the election!

    10. wbs 101 says:

      Wow the fed’s are sending multiple police forces to go after a sick guy in a wheelchair this sort of gross over use of power and force is exactly what I expect from them. Honestly how many different swat teams and police agencies do you need to go arrest a bunch of sick people and medical personnel. I can’t believe we let these idiots spend our money to do stupid shit like this. I would rather they start fires with it to keep homeless people warm at least it would be used for something worthwhile. Why don’t we just let a 5 year old decide how to spend the nations money he or she would find much more constructive ways to spend our money than to start an all out war on a bunch of really sick people.