Oaksterdam University Raid 'Payback' For California's Marijuana Legalization Effort?
The man who bankrolled California's closest shot yet at fully legalizing marijuana, Prop. 19, saw his Oaksterdam University cannabis college in Oakland raided by federal authorities yesterday.
And pot advocates are fuming.
The Drug Policy Alliance suggests the raid by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service might have served one possible goal:
"Payback" for the 2010 legalization effort that failed but made a good try of it. The ballot effort was backed by Richard Lee, the millionaire owner of Oaksterdam.
During the campaign surrounding the initiative, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that even if it passed, feds would still crack down on what they consider to be a nationally outlawed drug.
Federal officials raided the school, which focuses on the business of cultivating and peddling medical marijuana, via a search warrant that remained sealed. That means we don't get to know why the bust took place or what allegations were being claimed.
Also, our sister publication, SF Weekly, reported that other locations tied to the Oaksterdam might also be targeted by the feds.
Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann:
I don't know whether this morning's raid represents some form of 'payback' for Prop 19. But I suspect and hope that the principal impact of such heavy-handed police actions by federal authorities will be to increase support for the broader legalization of marijuana, especially among Republicans and conservatives who care strongly about states' rights.He called out the Obama administration for, on the one hand, asking federal law enforcement to show restraint in states where medical marijuana is legal and, on the other, standing by as these raids seem to happen with increasing frequency:
... The current situation reflects a failure of leadership by President Obama, Attorney General Holder and the U.S. Congress.