Oaksterdam U raided, new classes added for industry
By Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor, OaksterdamUniversity.com
Nearly 100 federal and local law enforcement officers were on hand as federal marshals, DEA and IRS agents raided the world-famous Oaksterdam University (OU) April 2, 2012, along with Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum and the Blue Sky Coffeeshop, a legal dispensary that is city regulated and taxed.
Oakland Police were dispatched for riot and crowd control as the Feds simultaneously raided six local businesses and homes in three neighborhoods. As news of the raid spread, an angry protest erupted, with people pursuing the heavily armed drug police, cursing them and making them unwelcome. Three were arrested, including a radio reporter tackled by agents who broke his rib.
The University itself remains open and has added a new Delivery class to its business curriculum; the Methods of Ingestion course has added Topical Applications.
April 20, a traditional day of celebration, saw another large protest gather at the Federal Building in Oakland. Supporters marched to Obama re-election headquarters, where a letter was delivered on behalf of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, demanding that the president use his executive authority to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.
As a direct result of the raid, medical cannabis pioneer and founder of Oaksterdam University Richard Lee officially retired from the University presidency to pursue national drug policy reform. Lee, now a professor emeritus, will still teach at OU, but said he feels that continuing as president could draw further federal harassment to the school. He is formally stepping away to allow OU to fully separate from other previously affiliated cannabis businesses, considered illegal under federal law. The Gift Shop and dispensary are independently open. Dale Sky Jones, OU’s veteran chancellor, said the campus will keep the current auditorium at 1600 Broadway, Oakland for classes and events. Student Services is now located at 1734 Telegraph Ave, adjacent to the Fox Theater. The museum is currently seeking a new location.
Federal agents seized everything on the campus but the furniture, and 45 people lost their jobs and health benefits, including many families with small children. Over 100 individuals and businesses who depended on Oaksterdam businesses have been put out of work.
The university will need help to rebuild through new student enrollments and donations. Recognizing the importance of education and awareness in the cannabis community, the school is giving back to the community and encouraging advocacy through a new program. With every donation given to “Save Oaksterdam” the school will provide a credit towards “Save a Seat” — a scholarship program for students and patients who can’t afford tuition.
The traditional 420 party was cancelled this year, however CANORML and the Oaksterdam Student Union hosted the first Oaksterdam Film Festival, featuring Green Goddess, A NORML Life, and California 90420, a documentary featuring students and staff of OU, released in April at theaters with info at 90420.com.