Federal authorities raid Oaksterdam University

April 2, 2012 6:32:18 PM PDT
Federal agents have raided the home and businesses of medical marijuana activist Richard Lee. Lee is the founder of Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana trade school.

Drug Enforcement Agents, Internal Revenue Service agents and federal marshals descended on Oaksterdam University Monday morning, serving search warrants there and at several other places in Oakland all connected to long time marijuana legalization activist Richard Lee. DEA agents loaded black bags of marijuana plants taken from Oaksterdam's grow room. They took a safe and boxes of paper records.

Around the corner they also raided the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Club office on 15th Street and on 17th Street the coffee shop Blue Sky. All of those locations raided were rented or run by Richard Lee, a 49-year-old founder of Oaksterdam University and a force in the fight to legalize marijuana.

"I think they were going after anything and everything that they deemed affiliated with Richard Lee because Richard is one of the leaders of the movement to try and regulate cannabis legally," said Gale Sky Jones from Oaksterdam University.

Jones told ABC7 she's a chancellor of Oaksterdam University and Lee's home was also raided.

A spokeswoman for the DEA said agents were serving search warrants on multiple locations, but that there were no arrest warrants and that all the information in the search warrants is sealed by a court order. That is all she would say.

The raids attracted an often belligerent crowd of protestors, some who tried to persuade the police and others who screamed obscenities. Some protestors tried to keep the DEA from leaving the site, even as they were shouting at them to go.

Andrew DeAngelo is the general manager of a medical marijuana dispensary in Berkeley. He said, "Richard Lee is a real hero to us, he's a real activist to us, his university is a beacon of change and innovation in our industry."

Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said federal enforcement of federal marijuana laws is out of place in Oakland.

"My constituents' top priority is to be fighting gun violence and stopping gun crime," said Kaplan.

And of all days to make that argument, Monday's shooting at Oikos University certainly underscores the city councilwoman's statement.


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