Medical pot school raid: 'They're going after industry leaders'
The executive chancellor of the Oakland medical marijuana university that was raided by federal agents Monday said she advised founder Richard Lee, whose home also was raided, to stay away.
The properties raided Monday included the university, a museum at 17th and Broadway--where Lee recently relocated his dispensary after his landlord received a warning letter from the U.S. attorney--and two other locations Lee has rented.
A raid also was being conducted on the home of a friend of Lee's, said Executive Chancellor Dale Sky Jones. Lee founded Oaksterdam as the state's first cannabis-industry training school.
"This is a calculated attack across the state on everyone who is trying to bring the cannabis industry out of the darkness and into the light," Jones said. "They're going after industry leaders one at a time."
Jones said Lee has been working with city officials to re-permit the dispensary at the new location. She and others who were gathered in downtown Oakland on Monday stressed that law enforcement resources were being squandered.
"While we have all of these federal agents here, trying to stop us from doing something we voted for, four or five people have died [or been wounded] because of the inability of these agents to get guns off the streets," said Steve DeAngelo, chief executive of Oakland's Harborside Health Center,which has been called the world's largest medical marijuana dispensary.
He was at Oaksterdam University on Monday after the raid.
Shortly before noon, Oakland police in riot gear arrived to stand between agents and an increasingly unruly crowd. As agents in jackets marked "DEA" removed boxes of files from the building and loaded them into a black SUV, they were met by screams of "Shame on you!"
Some in the crowd headed to the location of the new dispensary, where a raid was also underway. Asked whether he feared other dispensaries would be targeted next, DeAngelo sounded hopeful.
"I hope," he said amid a crowd that had swelled to more than 100, "that what happens here is this ignites a public outrage and this is the very last raid that we see."
Nate Bradley, executive director of Lawmen Protecting Patients, drove down from Sacramento to express his indignation.
The former officer started the group, made up of disabled former officers, and called the action against Lee "a slap in the face."
-- Lee Romney in Oakland
Photo: Marijuana proponents protest outside Oaksterdam University in Oakland on Monday. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press