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School Of Pot

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
If Oakland's newest college had a football team, the players would probably be more interested in snacks than sacks.

Imagine a school where the student teacher ratio is 15 to 1, and discussions range from politics and the law to how to bake brownies. Has Alice Waters gone academic? Nope. It's Oakland's Oaksterdam University, aka Cannabis College, and it opened in an empty storefront on 15th Street just last month.

The name is a play on similar institutions in freewheeling Amsterdam, and course offerings include Distribution, Weighing, and Packaging; Cooking and Concentrates ( the aforementioned brownie class ); Retail Management; and Budtending - which really needs no explanation, unless you're over the age of 80. And according to the school's ad in the SF Weekly, the money graduates jonesing for a career in weed can look forward to is surprisingly good - from $50K to $100K annually.

But why, you may wonder, do we need formal instruction in how to grow and sell pot? It seems like amateurs have done pretty well on their own. The idea is to create a bigger and better pool of potential employees, says Oaksterdam president Richard Lee. Right now the industry is still small, and pot club managers have to spend a huge amount of time on staff training. "If a client wants something to ease chemotherapy symptoms, not all of my employees have the experience to know which strain to use," says a manager at the Greed Door medicinal pot club in San Francisco.

Does Lee expect any heat form the authorities? "So far, our lawyers have said it doesn't seem to be anything too outrageous," he says. That could be because enforcement of marijuana laws is the lowest police priority in cities such as Oakland and San Francisco. But marijuana is illegal under federal law ( Ed Rosenthal, anyone? ), so prospective students should at least be aware of the risk.

Of course, that risk may depend on how the school defines "class participation." Will the students smoke the crop they learn to cultivate, for example? "No," says Lee. "That won't be part of the class. But if they do it on their break times...."

Source: SanFrancisco (CA)
Contact: San Francisco magazine
Copyright: 2007 San Francisco
Website: San Francisco magazine
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