The federal government intensified its crackdown on the medical cannabis industry today, raiding several California marijuana operations including the well-known MMJ cultivation school Oaksterdam University.
The raids have sent shockwaves through the marijuana industry in the San Francisco Bay area, as they mark a new phase in the government’s ongoing attempts to rein in cannabis businesses.
Until now, federal agents have avoided targeting medical cannabis cultivation schools like Oaksterdam, focusing mainly on dispensaries that generate huge profits as well as those that are located close to areas where children congregate or are skirting local and state regulations. Today’s raids signal that even ancillary businesses – and prominent individuals – could be at risk.
The government has not yet released details of the raids, but reports indicate that the other three sites involved are also connected to Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee.
The move comes just two weeks after Oakland officials approved four new dispensaries, effectively doubling the size of the city’s medical cannabis industry.
It remains to be seen how the raids will affect those plans. It’s also unclear whether the raids will diminish support for medical marijuana in the San Francisco Bay area. Several prominent officials – including representatives for San Francisco’s city attorney and State Senator Mark Leno – are scheduled to attend a pro-MMJ rally tomorrow.
The raids involved agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Marshals Service. Law enforcement officials apparently used power saws and a sledgehammer to access some areas of Oaksterdam’s building, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Founded in 2007, Oaksterdam University offers a variety of classes that teach students how to grow marijuana for medical purposes. Several similar schools have popped up over the years in other MMJ states such as Colorado and Washington.