Very Few Activists Have Contributed As Much To The Marijuana Movement As Richard Lee
Not that long ago, I was talking to Ninjasmoker about my desire to write an article to the effect of 'where is Richard Lee?' The nexus of the article was going to be an update of what Richard Lee was up to these days. He was at the forefront of marijuana politics in 2010 when he bankrolled California's Proposition 19, but he was very quiet...up until last week when he was raided :( I had sent an e-mail to Oaksterdam's press people the week before seeing if I could set up an interview.
Now I have to assume Richard Lee is busy doing things that he would rather not be doing. Obviously, an interview is probably out of the question. If someone from Oaksterdam reads this and wants to set something up, please e-mail me. It's extremely unfortunate what is going on in regards to Richard's newly established battle with the federal government. He was a model citizen, and did a lot of good for the world. What have the feds proven by trying to ruin his life? Is the war on drugs over? Or are there a lot of scared, confused, legal medical marijuana patients out there that are going without much needed medicine??
I honor you Mr. Lee. If someone sees Richard Lee today, please give him a hug for me. Or if he's not a hugger, at least a really hip handshake. I hope Richard Lee knows that the entire marijuana movement is behind him, medical and recreational, and we will fight for him to the very end of this. Richard Lee has done a lot for the movement, and we will be there to return the favor. Below is a bio of Richard Lee from Oaksterdam University's website:
Richard Lee has been working to end cannabis prohibition for 18 years. In 1992 he co-founded Legal Marijuana - The Hemp Store in Houston, Texas, one of the first hemp products retail outlets in the United States. Lee moved to Oakland in 1997 and co-founded the Hemp Research Company, supplying cannabis to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club and researching efficient and environmentally friendly cannabis horticulture. In 1999, he opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, the second cannabis outlet in "Oaksterdam". In 2003 Lee founded the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the PAC that passed Oakland's Measure Z making private sales, cultivation, and possession of cannabis the lowest law enforcement priority and mandating that Oakland tax and regulate cannabis as soon as possible under state law.
From 2005 to 2007, Lee published the Oaksterdam News quarterly newspaper with a circulation of over 100,000. In 2007, he founded the first cannabis college in the United States, Oaksterdam University, which now has over 6,000 alumni. In 2008 he funded the startup of the monthly magazine West Coast Cannabis, current circulation 30,000. Since 2005, Lee has been serving on the City of Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance Commission, which was created after Measure Z passed with 65% of the vote 2004. He manages several other Oaksterdam companies, including the Oaksterdam Gift Shop and Nursery. His dedication to ending cannabis prohibition continues to play a crucial role in the revitalization and economic growth of Oakland.
In 2009, Richard Lee kicked off a signature gathering effort that culminated in a ballot initiative to control, tax and regulate cannabis, known as Proposition 19. In a very tough election year, this campaign became the "debate heard round the world" and won more votes than any republican candidate on the ballot. Rev Hemp continues to persevere, and encourages California to "keep the faith" for 2012.