Federal agents raided Oaksterdam University and it’s affiliates in downtown Oakland on Monday April 2nd as part of the crack down on the Medical Marijuana industry in California. Oaksterdam, and it’s founder, Richard Lee, have led the charge in the legalization movement in the Bay Area and are an iconic and integral piece in the national discussion as well.
I got a call from the Chronicle and headed down to see what was happening. When I arrived a large crowd of protestors were heading around the corner to another shop, Coffeshop Blue Sky, which had been previously closed down but apparently was being used as a grow room for Oaksterdam. Word had gotten out that the feds were inside and in the process of confiscating everything. People were banging on the windows and yelling at the agents inside and things got even more intense as another group of US Marshals marched in to give backup to those that were more or less trapped inside by the angry crowd. Tempers flared and there was a bit of a melee as a protestor was taken down and arrested by the Marshals and loaded into a car. After that, a small group of DEA and Marshals decided to hoof it back to the Federal Building a few blocks away and were followed and heckled by a group of protestors with shouts of “Leave my medicine alone!” and “Get the *@%! out of Oakland!”
There was also a small, peaceful rally of support on the steps of City Hall after things had died down.