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Raid leaves marijuana school 'crippled'

April 6, 2012 at 9:25 AM

OAKLAND, Calif., April 6 (UPI) -- Richard Lee, who gained notoriety for efforts to legalize marijuana in California, said he will give up his marijuana businesses after a federal raid.

Lee, a 49-year-old wheelchair-bound paraplegic and former rock band roadie said Thursday he would remain a marijuana advocate despite the raid by federal agents.

Agents on Monday seized many assets from Lee's Oakland-based marijuana businesses, including plants, bank accounts, records and computers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"I've been doing this for a long time. Over 20 years. I kind of feel like I've done my time," Lee said. "It's time for others to take over."

Lee said he was concerned he could face federal drug charges, a risk he said he lived with for years, first as an underground grower and then as the leader of a legalization effort.

"I believe that cannabis prohibition is unjust and counterproductive," he told the Times. "What I've done is ethical, and I tried to use the resources that I had to do everything I could to change the laws."

Lee's Oaksterdam University, the first marijuana trade school in the nation, and his dispensary remain open, the Times said.

He said he plans to transfer the businesses to new operators but would shut down his marijuana nursery because the original "mother" plants were seized.

Dale Sky Jones, Oaksterdam's executive chancellor, said on the facility's Web site, Oaksterdam's future is uncertain.

"The school's 45 staffers have been told not to expect to be paid indefinitely. Meanwhile, school officials are working to preserve upcoming courses without computers, files and plants -- all seized in the raid," Jones said. "The school is crippled, but we're going to fulfill classes for our students."

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