The Hempiricist Hits the Road, Day 2: Reno – Oakland – Medford, OR

Oaksterdam University was established in 2007 by Richard Lee, one of the most influential leaders of the  medical cannabis movement in the Bay Area.

Beginning around 5 AM in Reno, Day 2 of my research trip took me over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and across California\’s Central Valley to Oakland, where I sat in on a class on cannabis cultivation at Oaksterdam University, the nation\’s first cannabis-growing college.

My visit was extremely productive, but I\’ll have more on that in a later post. The biggest news is that Oaksterdam is working on establishing its first satellite campus in Jamaica – yes, the land of Bob Marley and the ganja-toking Rastafarians is turning to Babylon itself for help as they develop their brand new legal cannabis industry. Turns out the Jamaican government thinks so highly of the cannabis curriculum at Oaksterdam that it wants the university to help educate Jamaican growers
 on modern, environmentally sustainable practices such as greenhouses and organic pest treatments.

After a lunch and iced mocha downtown, I jumped back on the road and drove all the way up Interstate 5 to Medford, Oregon, where I am still somehow awake. That is about to change, but I\’ll still leave you with pictures:

Hands-on learning is a big part of the curriculum at Oaksterdam. These cannabis plants are growing in the corner of thelecture room at Oaksterdam. The specially modified containers can be zipped up to cloak the plants in total darkness, a necessary step in drug production.
Some of the literature available at Oaksterdam. Note the postcard for the local cannabis workers\’ union at top left.
Oakland\’s Fox Theater opened in 1928. Oaksterdam is across the street.

Yes, there is actually a town called Weed, and yes, it\’s in Northern California. But it wasn\’t named for pot; it was founded in 1897 by lumber mill operator Abner Weed, who found the area\’s high winds useful for drying out timber.

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