Dale Sky Jones to become new head of Oaksterdam University
After a federal raid in early April on Oaksterdam University, an education center located in downtown Oakland that trains students to work in the marijuana industry, founder Richard Lee has decided to step down as head of the institution. His successor will be former executive chancellor Dale Sky Jones, which will officially be announced on Wednesday morning.
“It is safe to say that I will be taking over the lead position at Oaksterdam University to ensure that the institution will go on,” Jones told Oakland North in an interview.
Oaksterdam University, the first cannabis college in the United States, was founded in 2007. Ever since visiting the cannabis college in Amsterdam, Lee had wanted to open a trade school for the cannabis industry in the US. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, although it remains illegal under federal law. Lee, who has been working to end cannabis prohibition for over 20 years now, put his idea into practice by creating a school with a curriculum that focuses on the entire cannabis trade, offering classes such as Legal Issues, Politics, Cooking, Concentrates, and Horticulture.
“I started the university to promote the cannabis industry and to create jobs in this industry that pay taxes,” said Lee. “The other reason was to teach people who want to get involved in the cannabis industry and politics but did not know anything about it.” In 2008, a satellite school was launched in Los Angles and classes were also held in Michigan in May, 2009. (Both locations are now closed due to financial shortfalls.)
Lee, who moved to Oakland in 1997, played a huge part in passing Oakland’s Measure Z, making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis local law enforcement’s lowest priority. He was also a supporter of Proposition 19, a failed 2010 ballot initiative to control, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana use in California. Even though Proposition 19 did not pass, Lee considers the effort, which he helped finance, a success. “It was successful in moving the legalization debate forward,” he said. “One of our main goals was to get people to talk about this issue. And it just was on the agenda with the presidents down in South America. Columbia and Guatemala have come out for legalization of cannabis now.”
You can read Oakland North’s complete coverage of marijuana-related issues in Oakland here.