Back to School at Oaksterdam University

PH2009041102178As harvest time approaches, so does the end of summer and that means school is right around the corner. Not everyone hates school, especially those attending Oakland’s increasingly popular Oaksterdam University located in downtown Oakland’s Oaksterdam district.

“Oaksterdam University is a trade school for the cannabis industry,” says the university president, Richard Lee. “It was founded in November 2007. The idea is that there are a lot of people who want to get involved in the politics of cannabis and help with cannabis prohibition but they don’t know how or they want to get into business here in CA. We have a major medical marijuana industry and we’re working on legalizing it for everybody so we need people who can operate in the industry in a safe and responsible manor so that’s what we’re here to help train them to do that.”

potSo who exactly is interested in the marijuana industry and what sort of folks attend the university? “We have all kinds of students as far as age and demographics and types, says Lee. “I’d say the majority are older people looking for a second career, things like that…it’s not like college kids primarily. In general it breaks down into 3 categories. There are people who are looking to work in the industry, get a job at a dispensary. Our first valedictorian got a job right away at Berkeley Patients Group, a nearby dispensary. Or (they want) to start their own business. We’ve had students go on to start dispensaries. The second group would be people who just want to grow for themselves, personally, so they need to learn about the politics and legal issues of doing that as well as the actual how-to’s of horticulture. And, the 3rd type are people who are just interested in the politics who want to get involved in changing the law and want to learn more about what’s going on with cannabis and repealing cannabis prohibition.”

oaksterdam1Speaking of pot politics, they’re rapidly changing aren’t they? And, it seems like Oakland is leading the charge. We recently heard about how you and other dispensaries here in Oakland opted to RAISE taxes? “Measure F is the first Cannabis business tax, it’s the 1st time that a special a special category has been created just for cannabis businesses. Before, the dispensaries of Oakland were under the regular retail rate of .12%, this sets up this new cannabis category and increases it or sets the rate at 1.8%. Almost 2% or 15 times the old amount. IT’s a big increase,” explains Lee. “Our dispensary nearby will go from paying about $3,000 a year to about $45,000 in those gross receipts business license tax, we already pay $30,000 a year though in permit fees as well as 300,000 a year in sales tax and about a half-million in payroll and income tax.”

“The other historic thing,” adds Lee, “ is that there are other cities already looking to copy it. I was just reading online that Sacramento is looking to copy it, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Berkeley. I’m sure a lot of cities will be doing this with the economic hard times. We’re in favor of paying taxes. We believe that we are a responsible part of the community that we should pay taxes, pay our fair share for police and roads and everything else we use. So we’re happy to pay taxes. It’s a lot better to pay taxes than it is to be arrested and thrown in jail or another way we have put it is ‘it’s a lot cheaper to pay taxes than it is to pay lawyers.'”



17 Responses to “Back to School at Oaksterdam University”

  1. beth cantor

    how can i enroll at school. I am 51 year old disabled female looking for new business to supplement ssdi. I am connected with a dispensary in Las Vegas. Also live in Rhode Island 6 months a year looking for dispensaries in this area

  2. Peggy Delph

    Tell me more about the location of this school. I am a 55 year old female and my disability has been taken away from me along with my health benefits. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Not wanting to use it myself, but would like to learn about growing it to sell for medical reasons to hospitals, Dr’s, pharamacy’s, or whoever buys it for medical reasons so I can get medical benefits and an good income. I am trustworthy, honest, and hard worker. Please tell me more about this school.

    Thank you for your consideration and help in this matter. If I could get into something like this on a legal basis, this would be great and possibly give me the lifestyle I deserve, after being screwed by my retirement.

  3. Kody Lane

    I am 16 years old and i love marijuana. I want to devote my entire life to growing and helping others. i am looking to start my own business and own my own dispensary. i am currently in 10th grade and i will be taking plant science for the next two years in high school. i would really like to learn all about this school. thank you.

  4. taylor weirich

    i love to get high. i wanna get blazed everyday of my life

  5. Eye Floaters Treament

    When I went to school I stayed in the Dorms. I think they are the most enjoyable place to stay there. Some people rent condos, but I still don’t think that is the way to go.

  6. Ricky Goodman

    I was wondering if there is any kind of literature you could send ne about your school.

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  8. charlton jackson

    I’m from N.Y Brooklyn. I’am really thinking of enrolling in Oaksterdam University. I would love to move to california and be in the Cannibus business. Being medicated the right way and learning more about it will enhance my thoughts and vision as a producer and just getting away from N.Y. Peace and love to all.

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