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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feds raid Oaksterdam U

This morning IRS and DEA agents raided Oaksterdam University in Oakland, the brain-child of Richard Lee, a leader in the marijuana legalization community. The school educates people who hope to enter the industry of medical marijuana in California.

From High Times:
In an action both stunning and predictable given the current climate of medical marijuana in California, federal agents from the DEA, IRS, and U.S. Marshals Service raided Oaksterdam University on Monday at approximately 7:30 a.m. PST.
Later that morning hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the barricaded school in downtown Oakland going face-to-face with federal agents and cops (agents were aided in the raid by the Oakland Police Department). Dozens more officers were inside Oaksterdam seizing evidence that they later hauled into a waiting semi-trailer truck - including lighting gear, boxes, files, and 30 garbage bags stuffed with medicine and plants in various stages of growth.
Four Oaksterdam employees were inside the facility when federal agents arrived with a search warrant shortly after sunrise. None were reportedly arrested, but only detained and then released by the agents. Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee was at his residence Monday morning when the feds broke down his door (apparently because the wheelchair-bound Lee didn’t answer their pounding quickly enough). 
Lee was also allegedly detained but not arrested according to second-hand reports from reputable sources on the scene. Lee was allegedly instructed by personal confidantes to maintain a low profile during the subsequent raid protest and did not appear. The feds reportedly raided other Lee-rented properties in the area and confiscated evidence from those sites as well...
After the incident a protest broke out over the arrests including many who were openly smoking pot in front of the federal agents.
Look, this was going to happen sooner or later. The key here is that Lee wasn't arrested. This is a huge event for the marijuana legalization in the United States. Will Oaksterdam still hold classes and function in spite of probably pending charges or at least a heavy fine from the feds? I hope so, because education is legitimacy and if medical marijuana education gets squashed then we will be set back even farther from legal marijuana.

I hope this doesn't signal the end of Oaksterdam.

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