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January 08, 2010 7:05 PM Oakland College Succeeds, Despite Economy

By Daniel Luzer

Oaksterdam.jpg

In other weird news from California, yesterday saw the grand opening of the new space housing Oaksterdam University, “America’s first cannabis college, founded… to provide students with the highest quality training for the cannabis industry.” According to an article on Sphere, the AOL news site:

[Oakland City Council member] Rebecca Kaplan, praised the school for helping revive the neighborhood, stimulating the local economy and attracting people to downtown Oakland.
“This is a large, growing and thriving business,” she told the crowd at the celebration Thursday evening. “It is bringing customers for all the other businesses. It is a key part of the growth and revitalization of the entire neighborhood.”

Only in California is the farming of marijuana considered a real industry, something even Republican politicians can discuss in public.

And unlike, say, Michigan’s Med Grow Cannabis College, Oaksterdam U. is a bona fide school, almost. According to the Sphere article, “students receive instruction in the law, politics and advocacy as a prerequisite for taking horticulture.” Graduates receive the certification they need as a prerequisite for employment in one of California’s many medical marijuana dispensaries.

Oaksterdam, incidentally, is a portmanteau of “Oakland” and “Amsterdam,” used to describe the neighborhood in downtown Oakland where lots of marijuana dispensaries, and the university, can be found.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer