Raid of Oakland medical marijuana college draws protesters
Dozens of protesters gathered Monday in Oakland outside Oaksterdam University, chanting "DEA, Go Away" as U.S. marshals stood at the medical marijuana school's doors behind yellow police tape.
Supporters of Richard Lee, who founded the state's first cannabis-industry training school, said he was detained temporarily by unknown federal agents at his nearby apartment but had been released.
A DEA spokeswoman confirmed Lee was detained for questioning and released and that his home was raided.
"I'm outraged," said Jane Klein, 63, of Oakland, whose Marijuana Growers Handbook is used by the trade school.
Her husband, longtime marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal, 66, is on the faculty.
"It's insulting to be standing here and finding out that our government is behind this," Klein said. "Richard Lee is a philanthropist to the city of Oakland. He has supported our state laws, our city laws."
Steve DeAngelo, CEO of Oakland's Harborside Health Center, received an email about the raid early Monday and came to the scene. He said four locations associated with Lee had been raided.
"This is one more skirmish in a 40-year war that we're destined to win," he said, sporting a small cannabis pin on the lapel of his black wool sportcoat.
Even conservative televangelist Pat Robertson has questioned the efficacy of federal marijuana laws, noted DeAngelo, whose organization sued the IRS in December to challenge its attempt to collect millions in additional taxes from Harborside, which has been called the world's largest medical marijuana dispensary.
"It's only the federal prosecutors who continue to press this war," he said over shouts of, "Shame! Shame! Shame!"
"What this is about is Richard Lee has been a very focused voice for change," DeAngelo said. "This is not about justice, this is about revenge."
-- Lee Romney in Oakland and Victoria Kim in Los Angeles
Photo: U.S. marshals stand Monday at the entrance of Oaksterdam University in Oakland. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press