OAKLAND (KCBS) – Agents from three federal law enforcement departments on Monday raided Oaksterdam, the medical marijuana university in downtown Oakland, as well as other marijuana industry businesses in Oakland.

The raid at Oaksterdam was launched at about 7:00 a.m. Monday. Numerous armed officers could be seen milling around the immediate area while yellow police tape cordoned off the building.

A number of pro-marijuana protesters were seen at the site following word of the raid. At least one protester appeared to be under arrest.


IRS spokeswoman Arlette Lee confirmed that other locations were being raided as well but declined to say where. It appeared two of the locations were on 15th Street between Franklin Street and Broadway.

As of about 10:30 a.m., DEA agents could be seen entering two businesses on that block — a gift shop associated with Oaksterdam University and Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

“We are conducting a search warrant. Right now everything is under seal, it’s an ongoing investigation and so there is not a whole lot that we can share,” said Lee. “It’s IRS Criminal Investigation, DEA as well as the U.S. Marshals.”

She declined to confirm whether any arrests had been made – or were likely to happen during the course of the raids.

Steph Scherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, which promotes the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, said there was also a raid at Oaksterdam University’s president, Richard Lee’s home on Lakeshore Drive Monday morning.

Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, confirmed that federal agents had shown up at Lee’s apartment Monday morning.

Jones said Lee was awakened by armed agents, who arrived at his home sometime before 8 a.m. She said Lee had been detained and questioned but not arrested.

She said Lee is associated with both businesses on 15th Street that were raided.

Oaksterdam University opened in November 2007 and bills itself as “America’s first cannabis college.”


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (16)
  1. K.F says:

    It’s too bad that the feds are so desperate that they must raid a successful business and harass an individual in a wheel chair over some maryj. The feds should look in their own backyard for illegal activity.

  2. Kelli says:

    Seriously?? Our tax dollars are being wasted on FBI/DEA/IRS raids on cannabis clubs that are/were running within the parameters of California’s medical marijuana initiative?? We don’t have enough actual crime for them to go after?? I am surprised and disheartened this was allowed to happen, especially under a president as seemingly liberal as Obama. Perhaps it is time to secede??

  3. Stephani says:

    it wasn’t a club that was raided. It was Oaksterdam Uni. A school dedicated to teaching everything involving MMJ. from law’s & ordinances , to the science behind it’s many uses. This was a learning center..

  4. Kenny Session says:

    Thats too bad, I guess we will buying our medicine in dark alley again….Marijuana aint going no where.

  5. Kenny Session says:

    Street drug dealers are back in business….

  6. Mark says:

    It’s safer to bust MMJ related businesses than go after “real” violent crime. I guess they must have cleaned it all up and the MMJ industry was the only thing left to deal with, NOT! Federal government=epic fail.

  7. Mark says:

    The Feds are looking for a payday, plain and simple. The IRS swoops in behind US Marshals and DEA hoping to collect or impose any (back) taxes owed to the government. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean the Feds aren’t wanting their share. Stupid politicians!!!

  8. Kelli says:

    @Stephani It was multiple places that were served with warrants, not just Oaksterdam. The news on the radio said agents were seen dragging large bags of what they assumed was pot being carted away from grow sites and dispensaries..

  9. Me says:

    This means the FED, shut down a public school, that teaches the law to citizens. HUH?

  10. taxpaying citizen says:

    Disgusting. With real crime, the feds take the easy route and bust marijuana? The comments above say it all. No, I don’t smoke nor drink. Just angry as hell that our govt has time to patrol weed vs gangs. Upside down law enforcement. Useless law enforcement. Useless Fed govt. Useless Obama. Now, if on the ballot I’ll have no problem voting “Yes” for it’s legalization.

  11. Rick says:

    Orwellian thought police in action.

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