Oakland resident Sableu Cabildo (middle) threw a hair shaving party when she started losing her hair to radiation treatment for brain cancer. She is also a medical marijuana patient. Photo courtesy of Sableu Cabildo.

Oakland resident Sableu Cabildo was diagnosed at the end of 2011 with a kind of brain cancer known as an astrocytoma. It originated on the right side of her thalamus, the lobed mass under the cerebral cortex that acts like the brain’s switchboard, regulating sensory perception and motor functions. Because of the cancer, Cabildo has been steadily losing her short-term memory and her balance. She stutters sometimes, and to be on the safe side, doesn’t drive at night anymore.

To alleviate some of the symptoms of her cancer and the harsher side affects of her medications, Cabildo, 34, has a medical marijuana prescription. It’s helped to calm her mood swings and improve her diminished appetite. It also dulls the pain from the migraine headaches caused by her disease. It lets her sleep at night.

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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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Barr delivers a furious speech.

Roseanne Barr is running for president. It was clear, when she addressed a packed house at Oaksterdam University on Thursday night, that the bulk of the crowd was there to hear her say that out loud. Former Democratic Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney delivered an introduction to the evening, cutting directly to the chase. “We are meeting here,” she said, “because the Peace and Freedom Party had the courage and the smarts to nominate Roseanne Barr as their presidential candidate.”

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Oakland’s dispensary ordinance, which has been on the books since 2004, is lauded by city officials—a staff report from the City Administrator’s Office published in July, 2011, calls it “a role model for the nation”—and is generally well-respected among local dispensary owners who consider it fair to them and the city. It requires that dispensary operators follow certain rules: sharing annual financial audits and personnel records with the city, making sure there’s proper security and safe access for patients, and making sure clients aren’t a nuisance to the neighborhood.
But there could be major changes brewing for how Oakland’s dispensaries are regulated.

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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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Medical marijuana dispensaries often strive to keep a low profile, but this has been even more the case after federal agents raided Oaksterdam University and the home of founder Richard Lee on Monday. Half a dozen East Bay dispensaries responded with “no comment” when asked about how their organization was reacting to the raid, and others ignored voicemails. To date, there are no known closures of dispensaries in the East Bay as a reaction to Monday’s raid, and for many dispensaries, such as Harborside Health Center and the Berkeley Patient’s Care Collective, it’s business as usual.

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When Dale Sky Jones, the executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, walked into the school’s building at 1600 Broadway on Monday afternoon shortly after a raid by federal agents, one of the first things she saw was an Oaksterdam University banner, she said, “torn down and crumpled on the floor.” “They tried to demoralize us,” Jones said, “but they didn’t.”

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In a season that grows increasingly materialistic with each passing year, why not at least support the local economy while showering your loved ones with presents? Oakland’s swelling arts scene, assortment of independent businesses, and, of course, its medical marijuana economy all make for endless gift options. Our guide lists ten possible sources for holiday gifts to fit every price range. Goodbye Target, hello Oakland.

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From left: Founder of Oaksterdam University Richard Lee, Local 5 union representative Dan Rush, Yes on 19 spokesperson Dale Jones, Yes on 19's legal co-chair Hanna Liebman Dershowitz and California director of the Drug Policy Alliance Stephen Gutwillig, took questions at a press conference Wednesday morning at Yes on 19 campaign headquarters in Oakland.

“The move to end marijuana prohibition is far stronger this morning than it ever has been,” said Stephen Gutwillig, the California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, as members of the Yes on 19 campaign gathered at their headquarters in downtown Oakland early Wednesday following the initiative’s defeat, garnering only 46.1 percent of the vote.

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