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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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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The front gate at the Oakland branch of weGrow, the country’s first “out of the closet” company that sells indoor marijuana growing equipment, is now locked up and its former owners are embroiled in a series of heated legal battles. The 15,000 square foot warehouse facility, located two miles away from the Oakland International Airport, opened last October with a press conference at which a number of city officials, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (a city councilmember at that time), showed up to support the store in front of the national media.

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Medical marijuana is now legal in 16 states, and during the last election cycle 22 state legislatures considered marijuana-related bills. Reporter Abby Baird has put together an interactive US map showing which states have considered marijuana-related legislation, and how each legislature voted.

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2010 was a tumultuous year for Oakland as both the city and state faced a heated election season, the courts weighed the validity of controversial measures passed during previous elections, and the effects of the 2008 financial collapse continued to reverberate throughout the local economy, but it was also a year of new beginnings. Oakland North presents a guide to the year’s top stories.

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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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Police coned off several downtown Oakland streets near the Fox Theater on Tuesday afternoon. They are taking precautionary measures for the Jerry Brown gubernatorial campaign party starting at 7 p.m. Photo by Laith Agha.

Members of the Oakland Police Department cordoned off several streets on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for some pre-planned election night parties, as well as other less formal street celebrations, as media gathered in downtown Oakland to cover two of the nation’s most high-profile electoral contests — the California governor’s race and the fate of Proposition 19.

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To legalize or not to legalize? On November 2, Californinans will vote on Proposition 19, which if passed, would legalize the consumption and sale of recreational marijuana. Oakland North caught up with Oaklanders in Temescal and City Center to get their take on the controversial proposition.

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