Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 5, 2010
School of pot founder funds marijuana initiative drive

MC_POT_LEDE.JPGRichard Lee, whose cannabis enterprises include a Oakland dispensary and a school for would-be marijuana entrepreneurs, is putting the earnings into a political cause: the legalization of pot in California.

According to campaign finance documents, Lee's Oakstersdam University and a business partnership that includes Oakland's Coffeeshop Blue Sky dispensary, have contributed nearly $1.3 million to the campaign to qualify a proposed November initiative to legalize and tax marijuana for use by adults over 21.

Lee's S.K. Seymour LLC partnership is billed as a "medical cannabis provider" and a "cannabis educator." With a battle cry of "No Taxation without Legalization," he has pushed to legitimize the medical marijuana trade and seek full legalization by promising the city of Oakland - and now California - a piece of the action.

His place in the state's great weed debate is discussed in a recent story in The Sacramento Bee's California Forum.

Meanwhile, another donor backing marijuana legalization is George Zimmer. The founder of the Men's Wearhouse retailer, known for his "you're going to like the way you look" guarantees in his clothing store commercials, has given $30,000 to the campaign.

Pictured: Lee, in the grow room at Oaksterdam University, is cultivating a political movement. Manny Crisostomo/mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

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