Profiles in Cannabis: Richard Lee

NORML is proud to confirm that Richard Lee, the self-professed ‘Mayor of Oaksterdam’ will be speaking at the 2009 NORML National Conference in San Francisco, CA.

Richard Lee has been working to end cannabis prohibition for nearly two decades. In 1992 he co-founded Legal Marijuana – The Hemp Store in Houston, Texas, one of the first hemp products retail outlets in the United States. In 1997, Richard relocated to Oakland, California, where he co-founded the Hemp Research Company, which supplied medical cannabis to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Club, and promoted efficient and environmentally friendly methods of cannabis horticulture. Two years later he opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, the second retail cannabis outlet in “Oaksterdam.” In 2003, Richard founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the political action committee that passed Oakland’s Measure Z — making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority and mandating that Oakland tax and regulate cannabis as soon as possible under state law. More recently, he founded the first-ever cannabis college in the United States, Oaksterdam University, which seeks to provide students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry.

Richard was one of the driving forces behind the recent passage of Oakland’s Measure F, which imposes the nation’s first ever business tax on retail marijuana sales, and is presently spearheading The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, which seeks to allow California adults 21 years of age and older to possess and consume, cultivate, and possess small amounts of cannabis. Richard will be discussing and debating various aspects of both of these reform endeavors, and what they mean for the cannabis community, at NORML’s 2009 conference.

Richard Lee says, “Yes we cannabis” and so should you! Meet the Mayor of
Oaksterdam and hundreds of other likeminded people at NORML’s 38th annual conference, taking place September 24-26 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown San Francisco. For registration information, please visit:

More about Richard Lee:

San Francisco Examiner: Pro-Pot Activists Take Step Toward Putting Legalization On Ballot

Sacramento Bee: Oakland pot tax adds fuel to legalization fire

CNBC’s Marijuana Inc profiles Oaksterdam University

0 thoughts

  1. Richard Lee is my personal hero. To think that one man has made more progress than an entire nation thus far really says something. It brings a teary-eyed smile to my face. I can see his positive, knowledgeable and productive influence spreading across our great nation for years to come, until our draconian laws are reformed once and for all. 20, 30, 40 years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves saying it all started in a little place called Oaksterdam.

  2. Holy crap look at this guy. All the stuff he founded and work hes done for the pot nation! My God hes like a
    Hemperor! Peacful legalization has a better chance in this world with this guy… very impressive. Thank you Mr. Lee.

  3. Holy crap look at this guy. All the stuff he founded and work hes done for the pot nation! My God hes like a
    Hemp Knight! Peacful legalization has a better chance in this world with this guy… very impressive. Thank you Mr. Lee.

  4. WOW the line up of speakers at this years conference is an all star cast. I’m so glad I’m going. I think this is a turning point in the movement to lift prohibition. Way to go NORML!!!

  5. Okay this man has been fighting for two decades and now it is time for us to start fighting! We can no longer sit back and do more talking than acting! Has everyone sent in their five dollars to NORML this month? five dollars a month from all of us each month will give NORML thousands of dollars which it appears the power of money is the only thing politicians are hearing these days because it appears that they do not give a darn about our vote which is going to be a very big no huge mistake for our time has come and we are standing long and strong saying to politicians they will no longer take NORML nor her children as jokes again! Look to see alot of leadership coming out of this conference and look at yourselves and ask what can I do? there is much work to be done, the 2010 elections are aroung the corner, but even the most simple of things such as sending in your five dollars a month and remember you can send money orders if you want/need privacy and notifying NORML members and bloggers about any crooked politician we need to shine our light on and shine a light we will! WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF NORML AND WE ARE STRONG AND WE ARE A FORCE THAT THE WORLD AND THE POLITICIANS WILL BE AMAZED OVER! and this conference is just the beginning of NORML and her childrens rise to power! LETS NOT TALK ABOUT IT LETS BE ABOUT IT!

  6. It should not be understated how much Richard Lee has done for the cannabis community, BUT, when it comes to the legalization initiative he is pushing, I have to say the California Cannabis Initiative seems to be a far better bill. A break down of the 2 bills can be found here:
    “In summary THC 2010 – The Tax, Regulate, and Control Cannabis Act of 2010 gives amnesty for marijuana prisoners in California, decriminalizes hemp, legalizes marijuana, and exempts medical marijuana patients from having to pay tax on medicine. It protects children who are medical marijuana patients. It prohibits discrimination based on marijuana use. It is short, sweet, and clear as a bell.”
    “ROT 2010 – The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 is a treacherous byzantine maze of obfuscation. Prohibiting discrimination never occurred to the authors. Neither did protecting medical marijuana patients. They thought about decriminalizing hemp, but didn’t do it. The stated purpose is to force the taxation of cannabis, medicine or not, “without limitation” and prohibit sales in cities and counties that have the moral cojones not to tax medicine. It penalizes possession of more than one ounce for personal use and requires cities and counties to enact ordinances to raise the limits. It could be used to prosecute medical patients having more than one ounce and to prevent the medicinal use of marijuana by children. It increases some penalties for sales to anyone under 21. It is a Trojan Horse. It is the new improved Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.”
    It’s of extreme importance that California puts forth a workable legalization policy. A bad bill in California could ruin it for the rest of the country.

  7. #7 Mikey, You are absolutly, 100% correct my friend. With all due respect to Mr. Lee and what he has accomplished, his initiative proposal(initiative 09-0024) is complete shit. It makes no mention of exempting current medical marijuana laws which could set up a legal battle, the legislature can make amendments without voter approval, and it limits possession to one ounce.
    The one that is currently in circulation (09-0022)The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2009 is by far the better choice. It requires voter approval before any amendments can be made, exempts current medical marijuana laws (will not effect the Campassionate Use Act of 1996),and does not place restrictions on amounts of possession.
    Check out the link for more info about the initiatives
    NORML needs to do a little homework and push for the RIGHT initiative. Richard Lee is a nice guy. Nice guys finish last. The wrong bill can screw up everything we have been working for. Let’s get it right!

  8. ohh and to translate:
    (THC 2010) is (09-0022). 09-0022 is the initiative number California has assigned. The one we want to pass. The one that has been approved by California’s secretary of state for signature gathering. it;s not referenced as THC 2010 on
    (ROT 2010) is (09-0024). 09-0024 is Richard Lee’s initiative. It’s pending approval for signature gathering. 09-0024 is NOT THE INITIATIVE WE WANT!

  9. I truly admire Richard Lee. As far as I’m concerned, when cannabis goes mainstream it will be his school that is recognized the best. I am glad to have met Richard at last year’s convention. I really think he is a hero for the medical marijuana community.

  10. i second mikey’s wisdom…and have to fully endorse the
    Mikey Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 11:24 pm
    It should not be understated how much Richard Lee has done for the cannabis community, BUT, when it comes to the legalization initiative he is pushing, I have to say the California Cannabis Initiative seems to be a far better bill. A break down of the 2 bills can be found here:

  11. Harrison Narcotics Act of the 63rd US Congress 1914
    Marihuana Tax Act of the 75th US Congress 1937
    The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of the 91st US Congress 1970
    The Legislative Branch of the United States, sitting past & present, lacked / lacks the constitutional privilege or right granted to Congress by the United States Constitution in which to abrogate the natural inalienable rights secured by the people unless the U.S. Legislative branch has reviewed valid evidence, held fair, impartial, and publicly transparent hearings which showed, or shows, that our nation’s health and or welfare would be, or is, negatively effected should the United States peoples’ continue to execute their natural inalienable right of access to the cannabis plant can it be outlawed. Absent of these reasonable conditions Congress can not, may not use it’s privilege or right of abrogation of Constitutional Rights secured by the people.
    It is only upon the reasonable presentation of scientific evidence which presents a valid social claim, and or an individual claim of harm that negatively impacts upon the whole, or part of, the Nation’s people does Congress have the responsibility to secure the nation’s health and welfare by use of it’s congressional privilege or right of abrogations by due process to secure said health and welfare of the Nation. But no U.S. Legislative body, past or present, has the congressional privilege or right to abrogate the natural inalienable rights secured in the United States people based on distortions, fanciful conjecture, and intentionally misleading medical and legal information. No where in the people’s founding contact adopted by the people and sworn to by this elected government does it allow deception, criminal and civil fraud, intentional misinformation, purposely tainted testimony, and the denial of any expert testimonies as bases for granting any elected and sworn U.S. Legislative body present or past with the misuse of it’s privilege or right of abrogation which allows the outlawing of the inalienable rights of the peoples’ of these United States without proper due process of law.
    Therefore the foundation laid in Congress to abrogate the natural inalienable rights of the people lacked any real evident that the cannabis plant is or was, ever a safety issue which negatively impacted the health and welfare of the American Society, in part or as a whole. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress did not, can not, and still does not have the privilege or right granted in the United States Constitution to write any such legislation that would abrogate the American people from their natural inalienable rights to use the cannabis planet for reason of traditional medicine, or as a traditional food supplement, as an alternative fuel source, for the making of clothing, used as a replacement for wood, used in the making of traditional paper, and or for the peoples’ ancient spiritual, religious, or cultural practices of which is clearly protected for all time sake by our founding fathers’ constitutional preamble and the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution.
    Hence, the United States Legislative actions known as the Harrison Narcotics Act of the 63rd legislative session, the Marihuana Tax Act of the 75th legislative session, and the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of the 91st legislative session and all those sub-action therein, which abrogate the natural inalienable rights of the people to have unfettered access to the cannabis plant is built upon a fraudulent act and therefore unconstitutional because these legislative foundations are based on fanciful propaganda which lacks any real legal scientific evident that demonstrates any negative impact on society by the use of the cannabis plant. The three legislative action listed above do adversely effect the safety and welfare of the America. These fraudulent acts of congress continue to harm the nation and drain the people of their valuable resources. Most importantly these acts have eroded the relationship between all three branches of government and the people they are suppose to represent.
    Our Federal Congresses in the above named sessions have acted upon the U.S. constitutional provision involving the American peoples’ natural inalienable rights and have unlawfully abrogated those natural unalienable given rights of the United States people based solely on questionable congressional witness testimonies, a bombardment of fraudulent media presentations, and grossly misquoted medical and legal data, of which is still pervasive today in the minds of the American people. There is however an overwhelming, and ever growing mound of world-wide scientific data that demonstrate to the contrary the fraudulent education material perpetrated upon our society as well as the 63rd, 75th, and 91st United States Congresses. Our U.S. Congress therefore lacked then and still lacks now it’s constitutional privilege or right to abrogate the cannabis plant from the American people. All legislation, status, and laws written and enacted from these fraudulent act of intentional misguided legislation should be ruled by the Supreme Court in the land as null and void because they are repugnant to the foundation of the United States Constitution.
    “ The Constitution is a written instrument, as such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.” South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905)
    “To disregard such a deliberate choice of words and their natural meaning, would be a departure from the first principle of constitutional interpretation.” “Every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning; for it is evident from the whole instrument, that, no word was unnecessarily used, or needlessly added.” Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 U.S. 540, 570-1
    “ Every word appears to have been weighted with the utmost deliberation and its effect to have been fully understood.” Wright v. United States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938)
    “All laws which are repugnant to the constitution are null and void.” Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 174, 176 (1803)
    “If the legislator clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.” Amos v. Mosley, 74 Fla. 555; 77 So. 619. (Congress)
    “Where rights are secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.
    “When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it.” State v. Sutton Minn. 147, 65 NW 262, 30 L.R.A. 630 Am. St. 459)
    “The due process clause of the Fifth Amendment guarantees to each citizen the equal protection of the laws and prohibits a denial thereof by any federal official.” Bolling v. Sharpe, 327 U.S. 497
    Black’s Law Dictionary:
    Fraud: “An intentional perversion of the truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to surrender a legal right; a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives and is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury.”
    It is time for a national class action writ to the Highest of Court in the Land demanding this fruad stop.

  12. Thank you Mikey for setting the score straight in such an clear manner!
    Richard Lee’s law has serious problems. He appears to be interested in creating a recreational cannabis sales monopoly for himself in Oakland. is a true legalization campaign which will restore full human rights for cannabis users as well as legalize hemp.
    Here is our freedom lover’s call to arms-
    Here is the sticker we will be distributing to thank people for signing the petition-

  13. I’m sure it’s not a case where he’s intentionally trying to put forth a bad bill or anything like that. I guess the rationale would be that he has had success in getting taxation for medical cannabis in Oakland. Taxation would be a de-facto legalization, so I guess that’s the angle he’s coming from in terms of taxing cannabis for medicinal use. I guess he must have picked out things that he felt might be perceived as weaknesses like protecting youthful medical users and forcing local municipalities to allow dispensaries and tried to eliminate them in an effort to boost support from those on the fence. For the life of me I can’t figure out why he would overlook industrial hemp. This is where the cannabis plant can do the MOST good in society and, at least in my opinion, could boost support far more than these needless concessions. This would be legalization’s biggest selling point
    I hope in time Mr. Lee would support The Tax, Regulate, and Control Cannabis Act. The Oakland tax was a necessary first step to get the ball rolling on legalization; but in the end, we really shouldn’t be taxing medicine. I’m a recreational user. I am fair game to tax and I am happy to do so. But in the cases where cannabis could be life or death, we can’t justify taxing that when we are taxing its recreational and industrial use.

  14. does not effect mmj laws or reduce any mmj patient rights. It also makes cal the 8th state to allow hemp farming, explicitly and implicitly (if cities and counties can grow high THC cannabis then low THC is of coarse also allowed.
    I have not attacked CCI because i believe in supoorting all legalization efforts, however since it’s supporters continue to attack TC2010, i will point out that CCI has been ruled unconstitutional by the LAO.
    keep the faith,
    rich lee

  15. you know the rev allen the excrack addict keeps going on about pot being a gateway drug…i think you all need to get the stats across that not everybody likes the ghanga maybe what 2 out of 10…the other eight go looking for something with a more chemically processed romance…the folks that groove on the ghanga might initally travel further but always return in short order…well becasue it just fits and suits the medicinal aspect and/or recreational…usually both…i think this issue needs to be driven home with the effort…peace

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