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Richard Lee Forced to Walk Away from Oaksterdam yet remains Positive

richard lee hopes you all had a nice holiday weekend.  With so much preparation for the holiday it can be difficult to keep up with new developments in the medical marijuana industry.  While we wish the only updates were related to Easter egg hunts and Passover Seders, patients learned that their struggles do not take a rest, even during the holidays.

The Oaksterdam raid by federal authorities has generated considerable attention in the media nationwide.  Richard Lee, who ran the university as well as a medical marijuana dispensary has decided to give up his business operations.  The news is troubling for many patients and advocates who have found inspiration through his tireless efforts.  Richard Lee is well known for his dedication to patients and spent over 1.5 million dollars in an attempt to pass proposition 19, a measure aimed at legalizing marijuana in California.  After the raids of his home and businesses, Mr. Lee is left with few options and has been forced to shut his doors to patients.  He may face many years in jail, and federal law even calls for the death sentence in cases where an individual possess over 60,000 plants.  Richard Lee admitted he did not know how many plants were seized during the raid though it still seems unlikely he would face execution.

Fortunately, Mr. Lee is utilizing an upbeat approach to his situation, despite facing what may be a lengthy jail sentence, or worse.  He sees his situation as a possible motivation point for activists.  Richard Lee recently stated “I think the nationwide coverage of the raid shows that there is a story here that a lot of people would like to see and like to hear about.”  He also went on to say “We are getting very close to a tipping point on this issue,” and referenced the fact that Oaksterdam has trained approximately 15,000 individuals, many of which are willing to continue the march toward marijuana reform.  The national coverage of the story may help Lee, as polls show that a vast majority of Americans support a physician’s right to prescribe marijuana to patients.  A harsh sentence for Mr. Lee may result in a harsh public backlash.

We wish the best for Richard Lee as his efforts have provided compassionate relief for so many patients.  While his legal downfall could help the future of medical marijuana, we do not want to lose focus on the individual.  Hopefully, the federal government will find some sensibility and provide leniency on someone hoping to promote education, safety, and compassion.

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