Medical marijuana supporters will be rallying to protest the federal attack on California’s cannabis collectives tomorrow April 3rd at San Francisco City Hall (Polk St), 11am – 1 pm, with a march to the US Federal Building (450 Golden Gate). Download flyer
OAKLAND, Apr 2nd – Agents of the DEA, IRS and Federal Marshall’s office converged on Oaksterdam to raid Richard Lee’s Oaksterdam University, the Oaksterdam Museum, the Blue Sky Coffee Shop, the Oaksterdam Gift Shop and other locations, including Lee’s apartment.
Lee was detained but not arrested. Lee, a prominent advocate of marijuana legalization, co-sponsored Oakland’s 2004 “tax and regulate” initiative, Measure Z, which won 65% of the vote, and was the primary sponsor of California’s 2010 Prop 19 legalization initiative.
Scores of angry protesters shouted “Shame” and “DEA go away” as agents carried off evidence, including copious marijuana plants, from the scene. Lee’s Blue Sky Coffee Shop is one of four licensed collectives operating under Oakland’s pioneering dispensary ordinance, the first in the nation.
Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer denounced today’s raid as “bankrupt drug police state thuggery.”
Oakland police were needed to control the crowd, which spilled out into the middle of Broadway. (Meanwhile, as federal agents were causing trouble in Oaksterdam, more Oakland police were called in to respond to a fatal school shoot-out that left seven dead elsewhere in
the city). A couple of protesters were arrested for interfering with federal agents, including Danielle Schumacher, who tried to block an IRS car, and Jose Gutierrez, who was shoved and beaten by DEA agents forcing their way through the crowd.
Oakland city council member Rebecca Kaplan and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley denounced the raids. In a written statement, Miley declared, “I am really shocked and saddened by the actions of the federal government in targeting Oaksterdam and Richard Lee in their efforts to help individuals who are in need of medical cannabis as well as educating their caregivers. It’s unfortunate that the federal government has chosen to ignore their own policies that were issued by the US Attorney General not to interfere with states that have enacted laws regulating medical marijuana.”
California NORML urges supporters to protest to President Obama about failing to honor his campaign pledge to respect state medical marijuana laws. Contact the President
A dozen Oakland Police Officers in riot gear and a handful of US Marshalls assisted a score of agents from DEA and IRS in a raid of Oaksterdam University and ancillary buildings, including the apartment of Richard Lee, OU’s founder and main proponent of Proposition 19. Hundreds of protesters turned out to taunt the police with chants of “Shame!” and “DEA Go Away,” booing them as they brought out garbage bags and boxes of evidence.
Attending the protest were national NORML Deputy Director and OU instructor Paul Armentano; CalNORML director Dale Gieringer and deputy director Ellen Komp, and CalNORML board member and High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year Debby Goldserry. Gieringer spoke at rally afterwards on the city hall steps, where he enjoined all to phone or email the White House in protest. (He said when he’d called himself that morning and said he was calling from Oakland, he was asked if he was calling about Oaksterdam.)
CalNORML used its new twitter feed @CaliforniaNORML to tweet stories and photos throughout the day. National NORML also tweeted with a live video feed, and NORML Women’s Alliance picked up on the news that at the same time, a violent shooting spree was happening nearby at a religious college.
Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan highlighted gun violence and illegal guns as areas the police should be focusing on at the rally. In an upbeat speech given with the aid of the human microphone, Kaplan praised the good medical marijuana businesses in Oakland.