Oakland pot school on the struggle

Oakland’s most famous establishment of higher education has fallen on not so high times.

Oaksterdam’s enrollment at its peak filled seven classes of 70 students each paying up to $800 a semester to learn the arts of growing, dispensing and  cooking, Oakland style. Now, Oaksterdam runs just one class of 50 students, introductory two-day weekend programs and advanced seminars, drawing half the number of attendees they once did.

Initially, enrollment began falling as California cannabis businesses started shriveling under pressure from militant U.S. attorneys.

Although many are now puff-puff-passing on a career in the cannabis arts, Oaksterdam still draws enthusiasts from all over the world while the city itself continues to explore the economic benefits of dispensaries.

Oakland’s four current dispensaries pump $1.7 million in tax revenue into the city of Oakland each year. The economically struggling Oakland sees value in easing licensing for four more similar businesses.

Oaksterdam’s founder Richard Lee remains hopeful and encouraging to those interested in the industry, telling the Sacramento Bee:

“I think this thing is just going to be a blip in the overall. The big thing now is legalization is almost here.”

To date 15,000 students have taken classes at Oaksterdam.