Feds Raid Oaksterdam University

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.

Stay tuned.

Oakland , CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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There goes my Obama vote...

There goes my Obama vote...

did you not read this

did you not read this article?

  And I thought Bush was bad

  And I thought Bush was bad for cannabis.  Obama lost my vote and any one he buddies up with will too.

This is BS!

This is what is tearing our country apart, this over-involvement of the Federal Government wasting our tax dollars on a meaningless war against medical marijuana! Obama and his cronies are full of shit, they made that promise with fingers crossed behind their backs, they are double dealing crooks! All they are doing is trying please everyone to keep themselves in the White House for another reign of terror on our economy and freedoms! These bastards want to push life taxes(aka Obama care) and they want to take away medical marijuana for what reason, exactly? To defecate on our liberties and put another tax on our heads, we might as well be the England we fought to get away from back in the 18th century! This drug war has been going on since before alcohol prohibition and we saw what that did for us, so why now are we still continuing with this? I will tell you why, because those jerks that work for the Federal government can get more funding and kick backs! The drug war in general is completely unconstitutional, illogical, and unethical! WHY I SAY, WHY DO PEOPLE SUPPORT THIS STUPID WAR!!!!

Lorenzo

Federal govt acting like local code enforcers.

Instead of going on weed runs maybe the federal govt should go after those folks on Wall St who royally butt fucked this country.  I guess Big Pharma paid off Obama quite handsomely.

Like a Head Trophy on a Wall

Obama couldn't resist snatching this head trophy(Oaksterdam)  to indicate to his socially conservative detractors that he serious about cracking down on the dispensaries in California. And in a further irony, a shoot out at another University in Oakland occurs killing seven people while dozens of federal agent are raiding Oaksterdam as they are carting off bales of pot for the cameras. I give kudos to the first broadcaster who connects the dots of these two outrageous incidents. But I'm not holding my breath. 

A bold blunder of this magnitude just doesn't happen without careful planning to maximize the supposed political points this raid scores for the President. Obama isn't stupid. He's a shrewd opportunist who believes this raid of Oaksterdam will further his re-election in November. We reformers have to make the most of Obama's decision to push the movement backwards. Whatever it takes... 

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There goes my vote

I fully supported Obama in 08, as did 9 million more voter than voted for McCain.  Not this year, I am voting  libertarian

Election Year Politics

Prosecutors profit from Cannabis Prohibition . Under Federal Law , they have the right to arrest " anyone " in possession of Cannabis , or related activity . What we have here , is an attempt to silence the masses concerning Cannabis Legalization . Show and use the Hammer and hope that they shut up . The percentage of Americans that support Cannabis Legalization continues to rise day by day . There is no turning back . The Prohibitionists are on their way out of the picture . Old Age has its consequences . Rabid Sharks caught up in the under-tow of that " Big Green Tsunami " should be expected .  After  9/11 , the feds busted Chong for selling water pipes online . You do the Math . This is a case of government robbery at its best . What  " U.S.A. Constitution " ?  VOTE 2012 .

Fighting the wrong Drugs.....

Medical marijuana as WE ALL know is not what people should be focusing on as a dangerous menace that’s going to ruin our youth and corrupt our free country. In fact it should have never been thought of in that way from the start of this great POT debate that has been so over analyzed as well as over dramatized by people who truly have no actual practical knowledge of the benefits of this all natual, god given medicine. We have all heard the statement from our medical marijuana friends who in sticking up for their chosen cure of anything from a stressfull day at work to the symptoms of a debilitating illness that they can either treat by using a harmless all natural weed or perhaps they should take a fistfull of legal pharmacudical medication provided by there trusted pain management Dr. That they drive across country to see in the great state of Florida because they had no system in place to monitor the distribution of some of the most life ruining drugs ever put into the hands of our children. They call marijuana the gateway drug, yet if people would look at what is really going on in this country with the introduction of medicines like Oxycodone and all the other derivatives of synthetic heroin that our government is allowing into the hands of our youth. Who is controlling the pharmicudical companies? Are they the same people who have been fighting against our right to treat our own ailments with what actually works for us, or are they just going to decide once and for all what’s best for me and my medication needs, I personally think I know what works for me better then some guy who would rather I buy my medicine from his buddy who just so happens to be a major contributor to his campaign as well as the CEO of a major pharmacudical company which coincidentally he has 10,000 shares invested in. Maybe there right and we should all give up our dangerous pot habit and switch to the real gateway drugs like synthetic heroin or excuse me I meant OxyContin, and then perhaps when they decide we have become to dependent on the pills and cut us off we can just do what our teenagers and young adults are doing and spend $80 bucks a pill 5 times a day until we figure out that for $50 bucks we can just buy a nice bag of heroin from some street corner thug and save a few hundred a day by slamming some black tar into our veins, it’s the same EXCACT thing. Looks like we have a new gateway drug kids…… Enjoy! And can I say that I am really getting sick of all these stoners driving around completely high and killing all those innocent families……. Name one case that you have ever heard of that happening…. Let’s all just do some shots and then get my car and find some cocaine to sober up…..gateway drug? I think I will stick with my medication of choice, I hope there’s ice cream in the fridge, cause the last thing I wanna do is go out and look for something a little harder, I wanna play with my crazy kids and maybe fall asleep watching scooby doo and scrappy too! What’s wrong with this free country? And why can’t I watch CNN international in the US but in the 26 other countries I have visited I can find it on every TV! Sorry for that part I got caught up……… Realize Legaliz! Thank for reading my friends…….

Seriously?

Resort to demonizing other drugs in order to glorify cannabis. How classy. Really though, this is the type of transparent and self-interested advocacy that is undermining the real efforts to end the government's policies of mind-policing which have destroyed our individual liberties. And if you want the commonfolk to take you somewhat seriously, you might do well to lay off the "stoney", hippie-ish, obviously biased glorification of weed as some magical cure all that everyone should be using. I hate to be a contrarian, but I'm tired of this type of rhetoric undermining the perceived legitimacy of more principled arguments against prohibition. I'm tired of the snake oil pitch being used to selectively promote marijuana reform, while ignoring all other drugs (and in many cases, demonizing other drugs). When you attempt to rationalize pot legalization on the premise that it's a cure all for "sick people", then you're implying that criminal laws against non-medicinal drug use is justified. I see little difference between the medical marijuana advocate and the all out prohibitionist. And the logic of both is dishonest and irrational. We don't need to "legalize medical marijuana", we need to repeal ALL controlled substance laws and let consenting adults live their private lives however they please.

"snake oil pitch used to selectively promote marijuana reform"

*'m not sure what you mean. The argument that cannabis is MUCH safer than already legal alcohol (and can't be overdosed on) doesn't apply to substances like heroin and cocaine. The argument that the public is ready for legalization doesn't apply to them, to put it mildly, according to all polls I've seen, but there is majority support in some states for cannabis legalization, if perhaps not for the specific details of any one version. No one is claiming cannabis only legalization laws will destroy the cartels, but they will take a big dent out of them, so it's fair to promote that claim. Cannabis legalization is going to be on the ballot in two states because dedicated activists made it happen, those activists don't exist in sufficient numbers for a legalize all drugs initiative, you can't force activists to support any cause but their own. Where's the snake oil?

All illegal drugs and those who used them have been demonized. It seems to me that normalizing the status of weed will be a big step towards society sobering up about other illegal drugs as well.

Just because someone is focusing on cannabis issues at this point doesn't mean that's all they care about. It can reflect their appraisal of the realistic prospects for success in the near future. Limited cannabis legalization is going to be on the ballot in at least two states this year with a real chance to win, a lot of people have been waiting 50 years for this opportunity. IMO you'd be hurting the cause of comprehensive drug law reform by voting against a cannabis only legalization initiative, I hope you'd vote for it.

Medicinal marijuana for seriously ill patients should be separate from any other issue, it's a matter of common decency, and there's nothing wrong with pushing MMJ only laws in states that are still lacking that common decency. It's outrageous that the courts haven't protected the right of seriously ill patients to use MMJ but they haven't. 

Fair enough

"All illegal drugs and those who used them have been demonized. It seems to me that normalizing the status of weed will be a big step towards society sobering up about other illegal drugs as well."

As for seriously ill individuals who may benefit from marijuana, it is indeed a shame that legislators and the courts are lacking common decency in denying such liberties to a needy group. While it's true that you're more likely to get a majority of people to support cannabis legalization than to support legalization of other drugs, I strongly believe that this is beside the point - in a society where, by its original design, individual liberty is supposed to take precedence over the will of a majority, or the promotion of some contrived "greater good" - Unfortunately we've all but abandoned the principles of a constitutional republic, and many now seem to have the misconception that a majority has the right to oppress or deprive a minority (or individual) of its rights, in the absence of harm to others, simply in the name of establishing social norms. In other words, I feel that highlighting the will of a majority to legalize a given drug, though it may positively serve the cause, implies that society as a whole has the right to dictate the behavior of a minority or individual. I suppose it all comes down to whether we want to prioritize the ends of legalization first and foremost - and pursue it by whatever means are effective regardless of fallacious reasoning or irrelevance to the case at hand, above the ends of presenting the strongest, most principled argument for the cause. 

I feel the same way about other arguments such as those which reason cannabis is less toxic and less harmful than other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. I would say the "safer than alcohol" argument applies to many drugs aside from cannabis, including some of the more demonized and stigmatized drugs such as opioids. I suppose I'm more idealistic in wanting to drastically change the dialogue of drug policy reform - ridding it of the many deep underlying misconceptions and logical fallacies which have distorted our entire perception of the issue as a whole - in order to argue the message on a much more straightforward premise that all americans can understand (assuming they possess the critical reasoning and intellect to see past the popular misconception of drugs, drug use, government and drug policy).

While you're correct that cannabis legalization is a step in the right direction, I simply feel that the promoting the unhindered availability of drugs on the basis of medicinal use has led to many unintended consequences which have further undermined the overall cause and complicated the situation further - for instance, the smokescreen of pain management which has made doctors into narco-monopolists and led to the current prescription opioid crisis (the "pill mill" phenomenon which has paved-way for more demonization of many prescription painkillers, and subsequent calls for TIGHTER regulation).

I apologize for not articulating myself quite clearly here, there are so many factors to consider, and I'm definitely not up to explaining this in a thorough manner.

Medical marijuana as WE ALL

Medical marijuana as WE ALL know is not what people should be focusing on as a dangerous menace that’s going to ruin our youth and corrupt our free country. In fact it should have never been thought of in that way from the start of this great POT debate that has been so over analyzed as well as over dramatized by people who truly have no actual practical knowledge of the benefits of this all natual, god given medicine. We have all heard the statement from our medical marijuana friends who in sticking up for their chosen cure of anything from a stressfull day at work to the symptoms of a debilitating illness that they can either treat by using a harmless all natural weed or perhaps they should take a fistfull of legal pharmacudical medication provided by there trusted pain management Dr. That they drive across country to see in the great state of Florida because they had no system in place to monitor the distribution of some of the most life ruining drugs ever put into the hands of our children. They call marijuana the gateway drug, yet if people would look at what is really going on in this country with the introduction of medicines like Oxycodone and all the other derivatives of synthetic heroin that our government is allowing into the hands of our youth. Who is controlling the pharmicudical companies? Are they the same people who have been fighting against our right to treat our own ailments with what actually works for us, or are they just going to decide once and for all what’s best for me and my medication needs, I personally think I know what works for me better then some guy who would rather I buy my medicine from his buddy who just so happens to be a major contributor to his campaign as well as the CEO of a major pharmacudical company which coincidentally he has 10,000 shares invested in. Maybe there right and we should all give up our dangerous pot habit and switch to the real gateway drugs like synthetic heroin or excuse me I meant OxyContin, and then perhaps when they decide we have become to dependent on the pills and cut us off we can just do what our teenagers and young adults are doing and spend $80 bucks a pill 5 times a day until we figure out that for $50 bucks we can just buy a nice bag of heroin from some street corner thug and save a few hundred a day by slamming some black tar into our veins, it’s the same EXCACT thing. Looks like we have a new gateway drug kids…… Enjoy! And can I say that I am really getting sick of all these stoners driving around completely high and killing all those innocent families……. Name one case that you have ever heard of that happening…. Let’s all just do some shots and then get my car and find some cocaine to sober up…..gateway drug? I think I will stick with my medication of choice, I hope there’s ice cream in the fridge, cause the last thing I wanna do is go out and look for something a little harder, I wanna play with my crazy kids and maybe fall asleep watching scooby doo and scrappy too! What’s wrong with this free country? And why can’t I watch CNN international in the US but in the 26 other countries I have visited I can find it on every TV! Sorry for that part I got caught up……… Realize Legaliz! Thank for reading my friends…….

Why?

Why did the local police come in and protect Federal Officers who were breaking state and local law??

Why is California helping in any way, shape, or fashion those who are violating its own laws?

Were California officials alerted to this Raid beforehand? If so, they should have alerted the school and sent in our state guard to protect our lawful enterprise against those who would usurp the power of the ballot box.

If California officials did know of this RAID before hand, I hold them complicit, accomplices before the fact, and call for their immediate dismissal for having failed to uphold the State Constitution. 

Obama is the head of the Executive Branch, and is the Head Cop. He told us he would not be interfering with Medical Marijuana.. but he has demonstrated quite the opposite. Why doesn't he just change the Schedule of Marijuana and be done with this nonsense? Why does he command 3-4 different federal agencies at the cost of... what?? and accomplishing... what??  I better hear an explanation from Obama on wtf this was all about, are his agencies acting opposite his executive direction? Is our government just a big wild animal?

I think it is a bit short

I think it is a bit short sighted and naive to blame everything going on with the drug war today on Obama. Like it or not there is not much Obama can do to stop the drug war overnight. Obama doesn't approve every single thing every single federal prosecutor does. Obama can't just dismantle the DEA and a few dozen other federal agencies over night. He could fire Eric Holder but he isn't going to do that right before an election and try to make the argument he fired him because he was enforcing federal law. That would make his administration look even stupider then a debate between Romney and Santorum. It would the moral thing to do and the right thing to do. But nothing like that is going to happen until after election. That is unfortunately reality.

Lets face it marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Until that changes or until the Supreme Court rules that state law trumps federal law in this instance this argument will never stop. The president can only recommend that certain things be done or write his own legislation which would still have to go through congress and its obvious this congress wants nothing to do with drug legalization because it already ignored a bill by Barney Frank and Ron Paul.

Federal law needs to change to truly defeat the drug war. I for one am not naive enough to throw my vote away to some right wing nut jobs who will only make the drug war worse. There is a chance Obama will do more to reform the drug war in a second term. He has done some positive things in this regard. He is slowly shifting funding towards more treatment and prevention programs. As well as allowing needle exchanges to start again. Funding for foreign countries for counter narcotics operations is being cut.

The Ogden memo was never intended for large scale marijuana production whether for medical or recreational use. We have to face that, learn from it, and move on. The battle to end the drug war isn't over. More needs to be done on a larger scale.

The reason the federal prosecutors and DEA are cracking down is because they are scared. They want to steal as much from you as they can before we defeat them. Never give up!

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