Cannabis Crusader Defies Feds' California Crackdown

By Luke Walker 11/11/11

Oaksterdam University founder and dispensary owner Richard Lee tells The Fix why he's not worried.

Richard Lee with his crops Photo via

Richard Lee, the activist who founded cannabis college Oaksterdam University, remains defiant in the face of the Obama administration's recent judicial crackdown on medical marijuana in California. "It’s just another symptom of the failure of prohibition," he tells The Fix. ”Law enforcement is water running downhill... They may close some places and hurt some people—in the long run it won't change much." Prosecutors contend that the industry is a front for illegal recreational sales, in- and out-of-state. But Lee—who recently closed his Oakland dispensary Coffeeshop Blue Sky under pressure from the Feds, then immediately re-opened it three doors down—tells us he’d rather see renegade Californian growers "make a few extra bucks" than have the cash go to violent Mexican cartels. He doesn't deny that medical marijuana often ends up in the hands of recreational users; he just refuses to call it a problem. Lee's confident that the heat drawn by illicit sales won't hurt the legalization cause: “I think the movement is too big for that to be an issue." 

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