UPDATE, April 6, 12:00 p.m.: According to the LA Times news blog, Oaksterdam University's founder Richard Lee is retiring from the medical marijuana industry he helped create. “I've been doing this a long time,” he told the newspaper. “Over 20 years…I kind of feel like I've done my time. It's time for others to take over.”
ORIGINAL POST, April 2, 3:42 p.m.: In his never-ending quest to lose voters, President Barack Obama chalked up yet another pointless, money-wasting “victory” in the war on medical marijuana, raiding the world-famous Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland, along with the house of its wheelchair-bound founder, Richard Lee. (Check out OC Weekly contributor Michael Goldstein's recent intervew with Lee here).
News of the raid spread quickly, with members of the Orange County chapter of NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, forwarding links to live footage of the raid's aftermath, which attracted a growing crowd of protesters.
Apparently, the feds weren't too impressed with this morning's news that lawmakers, including OC's very own Chris Norby (R-Fullerton), from five states that have already legalized medical marijuana are demanding an immediate end to the crackdown.
The letter takes Obama himself to task for violating a 2008 campaign pledge not to use his authority as president to “circumvent state laws on the issue of medical marijuana,” as well as a subsequent promise the following year not to go after patients. Norby and the other legislators took special offense at the fact that U.S. attorneys had threatened state employees with prosecution if they didn't abandon attempts to regulate the medical cannabis industry.
“[W]e call on President Obama to recommit to the principles and policy on which he campaigned and asserted his first year in office,” the letter concludes. “Please respect our state laws. And don't use our employees as pawns in your zealous and misguided war on medical marijuana.”
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).