Oaksterdam’s Richard Lee speaks out on federal raids of his university and home

On today’s episode of NORML SHOW LIVE we spoke live with Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University.  Click this link to hear the interview.

Richard told me he’s doing as well as can be expected when federal agents violate your home and business.  He tells us the nature of the federal warrants that were served Monday in early morning raids.

Richard was “treated well” by the authorities – “they didn’t even break anything,” he told us – and he was not arrested, though that possibility still exists.

Most remarkably, Richard expressed an optimistic view that these actions will galvanize the public opinion even more in our favor for ending this tragic medical marijuana crackdown.

Richard reminded us that juries cannot be punished for their verdicts and urged everyone to work hard to get on jury duty so we can begin to dismantle the prosecution of prohibition.

In closing, he lamented the IRS tax charges being used against him and others in the cannabis industry.  “They can’t have it both ways,” he complained about the government’s claim he owes taxes on something that is illegal.  “No taxation without legalization!”

Join with Richard Lee and NORML in demanding an end to federal raids.  Make President Obama keep his campaign pledge to not devote federal resources to prosecuting medical marijuana providers that are in compliance with state law.

68 thoughts

  1. I just did a report about this incident. I am glad to see he was not arrested and was treated well. I read on another website he was arrested and that got me worried. Glad they didn’t have there facts straight.

    Keep fighting brother. I will be fighting right along with you, even though I am not there in person.

    You provide a great service to many people suffering from various illnesses. It sad that the government would want to keep you from doing that. I wish they could see all the good that comes out of what you do.

    Keep your head high. You have millions of people backing you!




    these 2 scientific articles prove that Cannabis is not AS safe as we thought. THIS CAN EASILY BE USED TO KEEP CANNABIS PROHIBITED. It is a sad truth, smoke is bad for your lungs, period, including Cannabis. I think we should really discuss what we can do to prevent Cannabis smokers from damaging their lungs by showing these facts, and discussing options Cannabis smokers have when it comes to the dangers of “smoking Cannabis” compared to other methods, (vaporizers, edibles, etc.), unlike the Tobacco companies. This is a SERIOUS matter and I think we should make the best of it.




  3. work hard* at spelling properly

    [Russ responds: Thank you so much for catching that. As you can see below, we already have a self-appointed human spell check, and you are treading on his turf.]

  4. SO this is it. one jury on one case will pretty much determine marijuana laws on a state level? finally it will be set in stone whether you can move somewhere and completely legally smoke/grow marijuana?

  5. “and urged everyone to wrok hard to get on jury duty”


    NORML, please hire an editor. This is the second time I’ve had to point out a typo in a blog post.

    On another note, I agree with Richard. This should hopefully create more awareness and public outrage at these types of raids on sick people.

    [Russ responds: Damn. After working 12 hours and writing 6,000 words today, I typoed one of them and didn’t catch it. I apologize for forcing you to point out a mistake – I never should have put you in such a position.]

  6. These raids are really early Federal tours of medical marijuana dispensaries for finding a standard dispensary when medical cannabis is legalized.

  7. Gweeeedo. Are you a suck ass? Suck my ass. It’s out in the back 40. You may need a bucket.

  8. Do you think the DEA cynically exploited public focus on Oakland shootings as distraction for raids?

    [Russ responds: No. You don’t just up and execute a raid at Oaksterdam when you hear “there’s a school shooting” on the police scanner. They’ve been planning this for a while.]

  9. “…he complained about the government’s claim he owes taxes on something that is illegal. ”No taxation without legalization!”

    this is just too amazing to me to not repost…

    how do i volunteer to be a juror on cannabis arrest cases?

  10. You guys are hating on the dude for a typo…who is writing for NORML…Dude was probably enjoying too much medicine…and if that’s the case…he probably doesn’t give two flying F*#*#

    [Russ responds: Oh, I do give at least one. And there is plenty of great Oregon bud at my desk. But it was just a typo. I was in a hurry to get the interview posted soon enough for the Thursday news cycle. I don’t even mind getting editing help, so long as it isn’t snarky.]

  11. Russ responds: “Damn. After working 12 hours and writing 6,000 words today, I typoed one of them and didn’t catch it. I apologize for forcing you to point out a mistake – I never should have put you in such a position.”

    LOL. I hear that. If that person wants a job cannabiswarrior could use an editor too. Hard to stand on street corners all day screaming, still working to feed the fam, AND write 6,000 words a day. Keep up the great work, Russ. Haters gonna hate….

  12. Let’s face it, we have many conflicting studies on the safety of smoking cannabis, but tobacco is dangerous, and legal. So smoking effects shouldn’t be an issue in terms of legalization. If you choose to use or not use in your own homes should be your choice. Also, here’s something

    “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  13. Making fun of typos on the Internet is a shallow, pointless endeavor that only obscures the discussion. We all have the same human frailties as the next guy. So? Get over it.

  14. @ Pat:

    I’m not sure “Vote for Obama in 2012” is in concert with the content of this article.

    Even if the President didn’t explicitly authorize this raid, those in his administration did.

  15. Well I just keep going on about when these federal pains in the ass are going to get their budgets drastically cut because of the sequestration cuts resulted from the non-productive, lack of consensus, so-called congressional super-committee.

    As for Latin and South American countries entertaining legalization, well, if they all set up the Dutch Coffeeshop Model System (before the stupid wietpas shit) then tourists would flock there for the freedom to partake in safety–knowing authorities are not there to arrest them but to keep them safe from store robbers and muggers. Coffeeshops get a Cannabis Tolerance Permit from the local police department/law enforcement agency. So you could have a flat yearly fee or tack on a local policing tax on the percentage of sales. That would be in addition to a sales tax from the state or province. You could have a Value Added Tax just on cannabis at the national level.

    The U.S. and Canada could do that too but the U.S. is too damn stupid and stubborn to do anything as fiscally and socially sensible to improve the quality of life in our lives.

    What would the U.S. government do with revenues from a value added tax on just legalized cannabis?

    Hopefully fund national infrastructure modernization improvement of quality of life job creating freedom respecting and expanding changes in law.

    There’s something to be said for the overuse of hyphens.

    If Latin America goes to a coffeeshop system you’re going to hear that loud sucking sound sucking tourist dollars out of the domestic marketplace.

    It would place an enormous burden on U.S. law enforcement to come to grips with having to spotcheck even more cars. The backup would be longer than ever. I just don’t know how you speed up things without more lanes checkpoints at the border crossings. People will really be bitchin’ up a storm at the feds, and with their budgets cut they’re sure not to be able to keep up with it.

    The domestic tourist sector and lobby groups will be bitchin’ up a storm, too.

    Which domino is the one that speeds up the momentum?

  16. @Greenthumb

    I’m 62 and have no problems whatsoever with my lungs. Contrast this with tobacco smokers who huff and puff at the slightest exertion even in their 20s.

    Whenever I try to corroborate studies like this with my own experience they fail, except for amotivational syndrome. I took my lack of motivation as a sign I was smoking too much, just like floating shit suggests you cut back on dietary fat or the inability to fall asleep tells you to cut back on caffeine.

    I prefer to believe the scientists involved in research like this are after the truth. Unfortunately the folks who decide what slant to take in the articles for lay consumption have an agenda of their own. Frequently when the studies prove irreproducible, a retraction never appears.

    In my day we were told LSD causes chromosome damages. It turned out caffeine in the same concentrations causes chromosome damages.

    I think the single greatest lesson the Interet has taught us is not to believe everything you read.

    A word to the wise, though: DON’T SMOKE BOTH, DON’T SMOKE BOTH, DON’T SMOKE BOTH

  17. We need legalization in all states not just one or two, open your eyes people!!!! Oh yea !!! Fk Obama

  18. We also need an Arkansas NORML chapter, duh the natural state , damn again open your eyes people , it’s ok though, I guess either way , legal or not im gonna keep on smoking

  19. I’m sure its much easier to sit around and pick out a minor error in an article opposed to actually being out front, being a voice for our cause, and dealing with prick people… so Russ, thank you a million for all you do, I hope the focus here gets back to Richard lee and the university.

  20. The people work for good. The government works for evil. No more government! Let the people run the people!

  21. to greenthumb: to hell with those “scientific articles” we all know smoke is bad for the lungs, but did you forget that we can eat cannabis! hahaha its a plant, it tastes great, and if its legal then maybe people could afford enough to eat it. one thing i have felt very odd about, why dont medical patients eat their cannabis? much more healthy..

  22. Richard Lee, in my humble opinion, is a national hero. It is truly sad that the big bad federal bullies have beat him down. There is no doubt in my mind that Abraham Lincoln, one of our nations greatest presidents, would agree with me in saying that the actions of the federal govt are more like fascism than democracy. Their actions are disgusting.

    Why is it that the feds want so badly to keep the marijuana business firmly in the black market? I don’t think they’re stupid. I think their actions border on evil and that they must somehow be stopped. Of course, stopping them isn’t easy since they have a huge cache of weapons and soldiers that were paid for by our tax dollars. They also keep changing the rules whenever our side, the side for freedom and justice, shows signs of making progress.

    I served as a marine to defend this country. But, now that I am older and have more understand of just what it was that I was defending, I’d skip doing any kind of service until our leaders demonstrate that they have us, and our countries best interests at heart and not their desire for power and wealth.

    I salute Richard Lee! Let us not forget another hero, a Canadian citizen, that is currently serving time in an American prison for selling seeds and daring to speak out against the tyranny, Marc Emery!

  23. Russ, why so impolite? I understand that typos happen, that’s why I pointed it out. But on a blog as important as this, you really can’t afford them.

  24. as far as the comparison to ciggs,was told w/ my asthma if i didn`t quit ciggs,be dead by 30.quit ciggs @ 26,never quit herb.57 now. u do the math

  25. Don’t get hopes up about not being arrested. I spent 5 years in federal prison and I came across many people that the feds took their drugs and left them at home or even standing on the side of the interstate highway, but then came back up to 2 years later to arrest them. Good luck!

  26. Mr. President We know the Earth is not flat. Please stop these crimes against humanity. The science say’s so. So say we all. Earn that Nobel Peace Prise.

  27. No mater what these FED monsters do to Richard Lee, he can be strong in knowing that he is a real hero. He is a marijuana pioneer and a marijuana celebrity. He is an educator. And most importantly he hides is stones eyes behind cool shades. He will go down in history as great man. He is a hero just like Marc Emery, or Jack Herer.

  28. Oh now come on the Feds are just trying to protect you from yourself. That is what big government does, the bigger it gets the more you will be protected from yourself. Cut the government in half and the funny money that they dole out to local and federal law enforcement. And we might just might start making head way.Both democrats and republicans have the same view on this whole Prohibitionist view wake people.

  29. I wana see Obama running away from Washington DC being chased by all his drones(armed drones of course).

    Maybe a new movie ‘attack of the drones: the end of bad government’

  30. To greenthumb and Galileo:

    Even with the damage reportedly caused by the smoke, marijuana doesn’t
    deserve Schedule 1 classification.

    The current definition of marijuana is an abstruse, racist, 104 word tautology.
    It is no wonder that 50% of the people don’t want to legalize that.
    What should the definition of marijuana be?
    It should be simple.

    With a simple definition of marijuana, we can again grow cannabis to make oil, paper, medicine, and food, then have a reasonable debate about the rescheduling of cannabis smoke.

    We need to demand this simple definition of marijuana
    which actually shows respect for our Constitution.

    16. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    For more information, google Talking Points for the Peloton.

  31. Pot Heads way of thinking

    In closing, he lamented the IRS tax charges being used against him and others in the cannabis industry. ”They can’t have it both ways,” he complained about the government’s claim he owes taxes on something that is illegal. ”No taxation without legalization!”

  32. Every government study ever done on marijuana said marijuana should be legalized {last month was the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s blue ribbon commission that called for legalization}. It is time for the government to start paying attention to it’s own studies.

  33. If they are going after him on taxes, he still needs to pay, even for illegal profits! That’s how they got Al Capone.
    I think Richard is just trying to bring it to attention and the public eye about the absurdity of all this, but he needs to pay his taxes, that’s a fight he won’t win.

  34. I can actually see resemblences between our society and the school yards in our country. Are we no smarter than our own children? if not , than who will lead our future? end this foolishness that no one can actually use. Legalization only.

  35. Hi, I am an editor. Please do not be too harsh when judging comments.
    This stuff is not so important that it needs more than a second quick read by the writer to make sure it makes sense. The details are best left to more important writing.
    Errors in grammar and punctuation are prevalent in the media. I guess there just aren’t enough good editors to go around.

    Poisons such as alcohol and pharmaceuticals are marketed to excess, but marijuana is considered more dangerous than heroin.

    800,000 Americans are arrested each year for smoking Marijuana, a PLANT which has been found to have medicinal uses but is still a Schedule One “Drug”.
    Obama thinks that the reduction of the schedule for Marijuana is “an inappropriate subject.”
    These lawmakers have not even begun to address the blatant hypocrisy in this great nation.
    Don’t get me started.

    “I saw this post on another thread:
    On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that “if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us.” After forty years of trying to destroy “the drug menace in America” we still haven’t been able to destroy it and it still *hasn’t* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!”

  36. Our Government won’t Legalize MJ and tax it because you can grow it in your Garden so it cannot be reliably Taxed. Alcohol is much harder to produce in secret, it requires a fairly large still which is hard to hide, the Mash can be smelled for miles and draws attention quick. On the other hand a guy with a Green House can grow enough Pot to take care of himself, his friends and make a decent profit in the process. It’s extremely difficult for good Old Uncle Sam and his minions to steal from you what they did not earn. If they could tax it reliably it would be Legal in every State and Territory of the USA tomorrow. As it is, they can Steal (sometimes called fine,fee and confiscate) much more by keeping it Illegal. That Simple.

  37. @greenthumb

    NIH studies are politically biased, almost always.

    That said, who here would argue that inhaling smoke isn’t a bad thing?? It’s silly to say it isn’t. However their arguments that people smoking pot inhale more smoke and hold it longer causing more damage…

    They only do this because of the huge inflationary pricing because of the prohibition. Less people drink bad moonshine when you can buy beer at the corner store.

    Vaporization or eating is probably the safest ways to consume, and harmful or not, it is our right to choose to smoke or not, whatever we want.

  38. Greenthumb 4u:

    Fact: Marijuana use has not been shown to increase risk of cancer.
    Several longitudinal studies have established that even long-term use of marijuana (via smoking) in humans is not associated with elevated cancer risk, including tobacco-related cancers or with cancer of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, prostate, breast, cervix. A more recent (2009) population-based case-control study found that moderate marijuana smoking over a 20 year period was associated with reduced risk of head and neck cancer (See Liang et al). And a 5-year-long population-based case control study found even long-term heavy marijuana smoking was not associated with lung cancer or UAT (upper aerodigestive tract) cancers.[6]

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  39. Greenthumb is a prohibitionist posing as one of us. Possibly even paid to do so. Apparently we’re not supposed to be able to figure this out.

  40. From my Facebook page, Kirk Perry:

    The DEA will not shut down all of the Cannabis dispensaries in San Diego County. I get my medical cannabis from a DEA run shop in San Diego County that’s within 1000′ of an FBI building. While I’m extremely pleased and do benefit from a dispensary closer to my home than a 55 mile round trip to retrieve them, I wonder how my senate rep. Brian Bilbray can send me a boiler-plate group of words today, that stand behind the substance shown here dry-sieved cannabis (Kif), as a CLASS1 NARCOTIC – grouped with HEROIN !! ? Listen up everyone from NORML, the Pope in Rome, the President of the Untied States, and Steve Kroft at 60 Minutes®….. the DEA sold me this Kif. So, get together and exchanged logistics FEDERAL people! Change formats now! You’re way behind us here in San Diego County. The DEA is managing to identify patients, regulate and provide cannabis to Medical Marijuana Card Holders – and they’re doing a pretty good job of it. The people in my dispensary are there 40+ hours a week from 6 am to 9 pm, so LEVEL WITH THE PUBLIC, or I will.

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