Oaksterdam University

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Coordinates: 37°48′27.42″N 122°16′8.29″W / 37.8076167°N 122.2689694°W / 37.8076167; -122.2689694

Oaksterdam University
Founded Oakland, California, U.S. (2007 (2007))[1]
Headquarters Oakland, California
Key people
Richard Lee
Number of employees
Website OaksterdamUniversity.com

Oaksterdam University is recognized as America's first cannabis college. Located in Oakland, CA, the educational facility and "political institution" was founded in November 2007 by medical marijuana activist Richard Lee to offer training for the cannabis industry, with a mission to "legitimize the business and work to change the law to make cannabis legal."[1][2] Its main campus is located in the Oaksterdam area of Downtown Oakland, California. There were also campuses in Los Angeles, Sebastopol, and Michigan.

On April 2, 2012, Oaksterdam University was raided by the IRS, accompanied by the DEA and US Marshals Service.[3]


Activist Richard Lee was inspired to create Oaksterdam University after visiting the Cannabis College in Amsterdam. Lee recalled:

"In November of 2006 I visited Amsterdam and saw the Cannabis College there. I've seen in California that there are not enough good people who want to work in the cannabis industry in a professional way, who want to pay taxes and obey regulations and help improve their community. I came back from Amsterdam and the idea just popped into the back of my head..."[1]

The university offered its first classes to 22 students in November 2007.[1] As of November 2009, the university has granted certificates of completion to over 18,000 students.[2]

A masked DEA agent during the April 2nd raid


On April 2, 2012, Oaksterdam University was raided by the IRS, accompanied by the DEA and US Marshals Service.[3] The raid additionally targeted Coffeeshop Blue Sky and the Oaksterdam museum, both affiliated with Oaksterdam University. A number of the university's assets were seized, including plants, records, computers and bank accounts.[4]

After the raid, Oaksterdam University officials stated that they would immediately reopen.[5] Founder Richard Lee said following the raid that he'll be giving up ownership of the organization, citing mounting debt and concern for incurring federal charges.[4][6][7] School officials will soon cease operations at the campus' current location as they work to migrate the institution to a home.[6]

Curriculum and tuition[edit]

The university's curriculum reaches all aspects of the medical marijuana industry, from horticulture to legal issues.[8][9]

Tuition is $495 for a basic course, a series of weekend seminars which includes lessons and lectures on politics, legal issues, horticulture, as well as business management. Also, a semester schedule is offered for $1195.[1][10]


Opposition to the university has been shown by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which claims the school "sends the wrong message in the country's fight against drugs and promotes criminal activity."[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Whiting, Sam (April 6, 2008). "Richard Lee's Oaksterdam U will teach you all you need to know about the weed business". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Klein, Karen (November 10, 2009). "The Medical Marijuana Business Matures". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. pp. 1–2. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Kuruvila, Matthai (April 2, 2012). "Feds raid downtown Oakland pot school". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ Boghani, Priyanka (3 April 2012). "Oaksterdam University, medical marijuana school, raided by feds". Global Post. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20345101/oaksterdam-founder-leave-cannabis-business
  7. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/0406/Setback-for-legal-marijuana-Pot-raid-rattles-top-cannabis-crusader
  8. ^ Berton, Justin (April 21, 2008). "Marijuana 101: School teaches ins, outs of pot". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  9. ^ "School Offers Classes on Cooking with Pot". NPR. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  10. ^ a b Ioffee, Karina (June 4, 2008). "Marijuana university offers 'higher' education". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved December 1, 2009. 

External links[edit]