Enrollment has plummeted at Oaksterdam University, the Oakland college that since 2007 has attracted 15,000 students to study cannabis cultivation and related careers, while boosting commerce in one of America’s most pot-friendly cities.
Oaksterdam’s enrollment began falling as some California cities seemed oversaturated with cannabis businesses. The number of students dropped sharply last fall when U.S. attorneys began sending seizure notices to dispensary landlords and threatening cultivators. The prosecutors claimed California’s marijuana industry – supposedly nonprofit – had been “hijacked by profiteers” operating in violation of both state and federal law.
Oaksterdam once ran seven classes, each with 70 students paying $700 to $800 a semester. Now, it has one class of 50. Introductory two-day weekend programs and advanced seminars in how to run dispensaries draw about half the peak attendance of 120 students.
The nice thing about education is, short of a brain injury or illness, nothing can take it away. Perhaps the remaining students will be more concerned with the plant and the politics than the profits and the next wave of graduates helps build the momentum for legalization for all consumers.