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Feds raid Oaksterdam University, founder's home

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04/05/2012 09:45 PM

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Feds raid Oaksterdam University, founder's home
[link to www.sfgate.com]

Dozens of federal agents on Monday raided the Oakland businesses and apartment of Richard Lee, the state's most prominent advocate for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, carting away loads of pot and belongings but not revealing the purpose of their investigation.

The agents targeted Oaksterdam University, the internationally famous school that Lee established to train people in the marijuana industry, a medical cannabis dispensary called Coffeeshop Blue Sky, and three properties being rented by Lee, including his apartment near Lake Merritt.

The armed and sometimes masked agents from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Marshals Service came with a battering ram, a sledgehammer, power saws and a locksmith.

They left Oaksterdam University carrying numerous file boxes, a safe and black trash bags. From other downtown properties, agents carried away sacks with dozens of marijuana plants.

"This is really an attack on regulation," said Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University. Without regulation, she said, "what's going to change is who is selling it, the good guys or the bad guys."

Lee and four employees were temporarily detained, according to Oaksterdam officials.

Little explanation

Arlette Lee, an IRS spokeswoman, said she could not say why the agents were there other than to confirm that they were serving a federal search warrant.

Messages left late Monday for the DEA and the Marshals Service were not returned.

Supporters of the Oaksterdam founder said they believe he is being targeted because of his high profile in California's medical marijuana industry. He has advocated taxing and regulating medical cannabis for years, and his efforts have helped make Oakland the industry's statewide political seat of power.

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"The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry"

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
.........William Henry Channing