The shockwaves have settled from the now infamous Oaksterdam raid, and the result is a resurrection of sorts. The absurd and hypocritical nature of the action by federal authorities angered and rattled medical marijuana advocates and patients. But it by no means knocked the strong community down.

Oaksterdam now faces drastic change and adjustment amid uncertainty, as the school’s now retired founder Richard Lee will no longer be at the helm. But it’s a rebirth and one that shows the solidarity and strength of the movement.

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As a result, 25 employees have been let go, along with 20 other employees at businesses that had been related to the school. The school will operate without actual marijuana plants in the building, executive chancellor Dale Sky Jones said.

They have not knocked us out, just down,” she said. “The only way we can survive is to dissociate ourselves from the plant and become a First Amendment (freedom of speech) organization.” 


In a sign of some of the local support 5-year-old Oaksterdam enjoys, representatives of San Francisco Bay-area elected officials and union leaders for medical cannabis workers attended a news conference at the school on Wednesday.

Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Casey Rettig said her agency would not comment on Oaksterdam’s plans or explain the reasons for the April 2 raid on a school that bills itself as the first cannabis college in the United States.

“The documents are under court seal and we can’t provide any further details,” she said. [Reuters]

The true reason for the raids–if there is one–remains a mystery. And until those federal documents are unsealed, it will remain a mystery. Speculation is pointless.

Ms. Jones has the right idea and the right approach regarding the First Amendment: perseverance, reason and sanity will trump abused and misguided power.

We may create lots of ash. But we’ve always got a new spark ready for ignition. And with the spark that federal authorities have given us, we will rise from these ashes.