On Monday, hundreds of pro-marijuana activists gathered at City Hall in Oakland, CA to protest President Barack Obama’s visit to the city. Actions against Oaksterdam University and Harborside Health Center, two of the biggest fixtures in the Oakland medical marijuana community, as well as crackdowns against collectives throughout the state, had marijuana supporters gathering together to stand up to the Obama Administration.
During Obama’s 2008 campaign, he said that he would not use “Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the Obama Administration clearly show that they are against medical marijuana.
As a part of the protest, businesses throughout the city hung green flags outside of their storefronts and hundreds of supporters gathered together to have their voices heard.
Steve D’Angelo, director of Harborside Health Center, spoke at the rally. He said, “We are here today to send a message so loud that not even the president will be able to ignore it.” Harborside recently became the focus of US Attorney Melinda Haag, who filed a forfeiture lawsuit against the landlord of the collective which could potentially force it to close.
In addition to D’Angelo, a number of patients and parents spoke out against President Obama and the DEA’s focus on medical marijuana over more serious issues plaguing the country, such as gun violence.
Executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, Dale Sky Jones, stated, “As a mother, I demand our Justice Department focus on child predators, gun violence, and human traffickers. The action by the US attorneys is tragic for the victims and families of violent crime that do not have the full attention of law enforcement; tragic for schools and emergency services that depend on millions in tax dollars from medical cannabis.”
On the day that Oaksterdam was shut down by the DEA, there was a deadly mass shooting at a college in the city at Oikos University. Since then, Oakland’s gun violence and crime have continued to spiral out of control.
Many protestors believe that it’s a waste of time for federal authorities to target law abiding collectives when their time and resources could be put toward ending violence and saving lives.
At the Fox Theater, where President Obama was holding a fundraiser on Monday, supporters of the president outweighed the protesters. Protesters remained peaceful for the most part, with only two people having been arrested.