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Marijuana laws: Up in smoke


Lee and his garden before the raid

OAKSTERDAM university, a self-proclaimed “cannabis college” in Oakland, California, has been called everything from “the Princeton of Pot” to “the Harvard of Hemp”. Its founder, Richard Lee, has become the public face of the movement to legitimise marijuana. A paraplegic, he uses the drug for medical purposes, which is legal in California and 15 other states and in the District of Columbia. He also runs a dispensary for medical marijuana and sponsored a 2010 ballot measure in California to legalise marijuana completely in small amounts, whether medicinal or recreational. That measure failed narrowly, but the idea of legalisation continues to win converts.

Now, however, Mr Lee is busted, harassed and in danger of federal prosecution. This month, armed federal agents stormed into his house and offices to confiscate plants and documents. Mr Lee now says that, indicted or not, he plans to get out of his marijuana-related businesses.

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