The federal government is attempting to close Harborside Health Center's Oakland location on 1840 Embarcadero.

He might direct the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country, but Steve DeAngelo isn’t scared of the government’s attempts to shut it down.

“The federal government has thrown everything they had at us and we met them and we pushed back,” DeAngelo said, referring to Harborside Health Center, where he serves as founder and executive director. “It’s a drug war machine that’s bound for extinction.”

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The mural at Oaksterdam's former location at 1600 Broadway has since been painted over by the building's new owner. Photo by Anne-Sophie Braendlin

Following the federal raid on Oaksterdam University last April, Dale Sky Jones found herself with an incredible task: rebuilding the school from the ground up. Not only had Richard Lee, Oaksterdam’s founder and director, just stepped down—assigning Jones to take over his role—but during the raid, federal agents had gutted the university entirely. As Jones took on the responsibility of providing for the students, staff and volunteers who had already signed on for the spring semester, the rest of Oakland’s burgeoning pot industry was left wondering what lay ahead for their businesses and whether they, too, were vulnerable to raids or legal action from the federal government.

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Federal agents surround Oaksterdam during the raid on April 2, 2012. Photo by Ryan Phillips.

One year ago, federal agents raided Oaksterdam University, a move that sent ripples throughout Oakland’s well-established cannabis industry and raised questions about the complex and often conflicting web of state and federal regulations surrounding medical marijuana use and patient rights. In this four-part series, Oakland North will examine what’s changed since last year’s raid, who was affected the most, and what may lie in store for medical marijuana use here in Oakland.

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Oaksterdam University supporters celebrated 4/20—the calendar date that matches a code word often associated with pot smoking—with a march in Oakland protesting the recent federal raid of Oaksterdam’s facilities and demanding the federal legalization of medical marijuana. At 11 am, supporters gathered at the Federal Building on Clay Street in downtown Oakland. Starting off as…

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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.

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