Oaksterdam University, America's "first cannabis college" was raided by the DEA yesterday, as well as the apartment of its founder Richard Lee. While the government has been fairly quiet about the reasons behind the raids, a local medical marijuana dispensary operator believes it has been done punitively. From the SF Chronicle:
It was Lee, after all, who in 2010 bankrolled Proposition 19, a statewide measure which would have legalized adult use of marijuana, regardless of medical necessity. Some 46 percent voted for the measure, the highest ever for any general pot legalization proposal in the country.
"They want to make sure he never again has the resources to do that," said Stephen DeAngelo, Harborside's co-founder and executive director. "Rich is not a profiteer. He is not a renegade … Richard Lee is the most legitimate and real person in this industry."
Harborside, which DeAngelo said paid more than $3 million in local, state and federal taxes last year, is in litigation with the IRS about whether it should pay an additional $2.5 million for 2007 and 2008.
"They want to tax us out of existence," DeAngelo said. Monday's raids, he said, would not change Harborside's commitment to providing medical marijuana to its patients.
All of Monday's raid locations were at or near 17th and Broadway, and hundreds of Oaksterdam supporters swarmed there in protest over the course of the day. The demonstrators openly smoked joints and bongs in defiance, shut down streets, pounded on unmarked police vehicles and heckled agents.