Alumni Success Story: Sarah Miles Dolk

My name is Sarah Miles Dolk, and I attended the June 2015 Las Vegas 4 day Classic Seminar. My goal in attending was to test my knowledge and learn as much as I could in 4 days. It worked! I was Valedictorian and that makes me very proud.

Since attending, I have continued my activism here in New Mexico, working with patients, groups like the NM Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance and NM DPA. I am an advocate for patients and work to support Grow NM, our recent legalization movement for adult use. We have inundated our legislature with many bills regarding legalization, medical cannabis reform and hemp during this current session.

I continue my blog ( for patients and would be patients, and have landed a job in the industry working for Organtica Cannabis Clinic here in Albuquerque. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Organtica team, and I held out not applying anywhere else because I feel so strongly about their mission and commitment to be “patients for patients”.


I encourage anyone with an interest in Cannabis to attend Oaksterdam for a thorough cannabis education.. Go with and open heart and mind. I was sure I was going to be an old lady in a class full of youngsters, but I was fretting for nothing. The attendees were old, young and in between, of all races and backgrounds, from all over the country and world. Besides the exceptional learning experience, the friendships are priceless.

I am positive that Oaksterdam has helped me get to where I am today, and I’m grateful. Thank you so much!


Alumni Success Story: Adam Scott

Adam ScottAdam Scott
Classic & Horticulture Semesters
January – April 2016

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I attended Oaksterdam University because I wanted to make a difference in my home state North Carolina. We are known for Tobacco, a harmful drug but we aren’t even medicinal yet. The first time I heard about OU was when I was in my 2nd year of college. I did a extensive amount of research before I decided that this was definitely the 40 year venture for me. I wanted to learn all I could from this magical worldly plant and the best place for all in one type of deal was Oaksterdam. While reading and researching I fell in love with the aspects of Cannabis and all the good this plant could do for the world in whole. I had already had a year under my belt when it came to the medicinal effects that Cannabis offered a human, so it wasn’t hard for me to understand all the good that this plant did for people all over the world.


How has it helped or inspire you?
I got so inspired by Oaksterdam in North Carolina that I decided to stop my University schooling and acquired an Associates instead of a Bachelors. I knew that if I wanted to give my all to this life adventure that I would have to start saving and one day make the move out to California. I wanted to do the full 4 month semesters of both classes so that I could learn all that there was to offer. I’m the type of person were I need to take my time with task and fully grasp whats all there. The seminar classes are perfect for people who cant make Cali there new home or if they have to ability to learn a massive amount of material in a short time. My goal before and to this day was to make California my new home so that I could keep up with classes at OU and work with a job pertaining to the Industry so that I could gain knowledge all over. One day its my mission to run my own Collective back home, so that I can have a happy life.  Oaksterdam inspired me to want to help all walks of life of people. Everyday I went to class I was able to pick up on a brand new idea to use for back home.


What would you tell prospective students?
Go to Oaksterdam… The amount of information and ideas you learn from them is staggering. Before I moved to California I had never seen a Cannabis plant in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of books and did a lot of research but was still a seedling when it came to growing and dispensaries. I started my very first grow one week before classes began, which was amazing because every time I had a problem with the garden I was able to go to class and ask questions. The really cool thing is that Oaksterdam’s classes run similar to a Indoor Grow time span. I was able to literally mimic my grow time with the classes and the material we were learning every new week. No matter where you come from, everyone is under the same Tree of Life, so conquer the short amount of time we have to grow in life. The world is Yours!


magnolia wellness
Magnolia Wellness

Alumni Success Story: Mai-Lan Richards

SelfMai-Lan Richards
Indoor Horticulture Seminar - Basic and Advanced (June 11-14, 2016)

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I have always been an advocate of cannabis for over ten years, but since it was such a bad “drug” and illegal no one spoke about the medicinal values it provides to patients.  This is the reason I have chosen to attend OU to gain the proper knowledge of the medicine instead of opinions.  I have a scientific background, so I believe continuous data and research is the proven results of it being beneficial or not

How has it helped or inspire you?
Words cannot describe the incredible experience I had at OU.  This place has helped me understand the quality of the medicine and how it can benefit the world to a stress free mentality.  It has inspired me to educate others on what strain or method is best for certain ailments or lifestyles.  

What would you tell prospective students?
If you want to learn about quality not quantity, OU is the place to go.  I’m not saying they don’t teach you ways to increase your yield, but sometimes quality is better than quantity.  Regardless of what the intentions are, OU is the best cannabis school in the world so it wouldn’t hurt to have them on your resume if you plan on being in the industry.

Alumni Success Story: Michael Garganese Jr.

Congratulations to Michael Garganese Jr., OU’s November 2016 Featured Alumni!

Classic Seminar – Basic and Advanced
November 2014

IMG_0370 (2)

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I attended Oaksterdam to further my knowledge of the cannabis plant and industry.  It was at a time where I was unsure if cannabis was something I wanted to pursue professionally.  I had a comfortable job at Google and was happy with my life.  I decided to attend the basic and advanced seminar with my dad who was also interested in learning more about cannabis.

How has it helped or inspire you?
Up until my time spent at Oaksterdam university, cannabis had played a very minor roll, if at all, in my life.  It was something I had experimented with in my younger years but something that I brushed aside as I grew older.

What Oaksterdam showed me about cannabis and life for that matter was that a lot of what I had been told by authoritative figures my whole life (adults, the media, the government, DARE program in elementary school, etc.) was simply inaccurate of misinforming.  Oaksterdam showed me all the great things cannabis has to offer humanity.  I came out of the seminar with a fire inside of me and a desire to educate myself even further and learn everything I possibly could about this plant and the power that it possesses.  As soon as graduation was over, I quit my job and moved up north to help manage a farm.  I really dove in the deep end.   Since that weekend I have never looked back.

I later took the wealth of knowledge I acquired through my time at Oaksterdam, my personal research, and hands on experience working with the plant to start my most current endeavor, Lola Lola.

What would you tell prospective students?
There is a wealth of information to be known about cannabis, and generally speaking, the information is hard to find or inaccessible without the right tools.  What Oaksterdam can do for you is set the foundation for you with what you need to know about cannabis and help guide you to finding your own path when it comes to your interest in the plant or industry.  I can not recommend this organization enough.
Lola Lola is a full retail ready cannabis product line specializing in flower, concentrates, vape cartridges, and pre-rolled joint packs.  Our mission is to deliver experiences that inspire expansion of the mind, community, and overall wellbeing of humankind.


Alumni Success Story: Alexander R. Stratienco

alexander stratienco smallMorning Horticulture Semester
May 5 – August 4

Congratulations to Alexander R. Stratienco, OU’s September 2016 Featured Alumni!

My name is Alex Stratienco, I’m 22 years old, I’m from New York and for many years now it has been a dream of mine to attend Oaksterdam University in hopes of becoming part of the growing medical marijuana industry. Growing plants has always been a passion of mine and something that has always come naturally to me.

Since I was young, attending Oaksterdam University seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream. I slaved away at a dead end job until I saved up enough money to go across the country and follow my life’s calling. I would like to take my newly acquired knowledge and certificate back home to New York to get my foot in the door with the newly budding marijuana cultivation facilities and grow with the masters.

Studying at Oaksterdam has helped me in so many ways. Getting to work hands on with live plants makes all the difference when learning this field. Taking the semester class has shown me how involved the ins and outs of the industry are and gave me a deeper appreciation for the business. I’ve learned a lot these past 14 weeks including techniques that I had no knowledge of and more in depth explanations of practices that I would use regularly.

I would tell prospective students to definitely attend and to milk the opportunity for everything its worth. No amount of books or videos can equal the level of in depth knowledge provided at this institution. And as soon as I save up more money I’m definitely coming back to further my education even more, because life isn’t worth living if you don’t follow your dreams.

Alumni Success Story: Big Pete

IMG_2161Congratulations to Big Pete, OU’s August 2016 Featured Alumni!

It all started back in 1979 in Santa Cruz when Big Pete was finishing high school, making his first treats and growing his first cannabis plants from a seedy stash he was able to sprout. Soon after graduating Big Pete moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where he continued to develop his cultivation and baking techniques. After graduating UH Hilo in 1985 he moved back to the mainland, got married and started a family.  As a family man, little league baseball coach and professional landscaper Big Pete still found time to research his old friend Maryjane.

After 30 years of research and development, Big Pete joined the medical Marijuana movement in the summer of 2009 by enrolling at University of Oaksterdam.  During a special 13 week course Big Pete was inspired to start a business that would make use of all the shake that was going unused from his cultivation projects.

The Oaksterdam course covered all the hot cannabis topics at the time from history and politics, cultivation and cloning, as well as butter making.  A presentation by a chocolate maker really got Big Pete thinking seriously about a homework assignment that would change his life forever.  The assignment was to come up with a plan for a cannabis business.  His presentation on a cannabis cookie business went over well and Big Pete kept the ball rolling continuing to build his business plan. Meanwhile, enjoying his final weeks talking shop, learning, and making valuable connections on the Oaksterdam campus.

Big Pete with son, Pete Jr. and trophies from HempCon -Best Edible Dessert and Edibles Connoisseurs Choice. Product line shown here in original packaging.

By the winter of 2010 Big Pete had perfected his Canna-Butter infusion skills and with help from a few friends got the first batch of “Biggies” out to a local dispensary January 25th 2010.  The “Biggies” were made using 40mgs THC from Sativa infused butter.  Orders started to really pick up, so he left the confines of his small home kitchen and rented a large commercial kitchen.  He started out with 3 Biggie flavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Snickerdoodle which he came up with by chatting with friends and relatives about their favorites.  These are still the top sellers!

Later that year Big Pete’s son, Pete Jr. graduated from Middle America Christian University and it was with great enthusiasm that Big Pete included 22-year-old Pete Jr. for what would become an epic partnership.  Pete Jr. hit the road with his pops on sales trips and quickly learned the ropes.  Together they developed new recipes and different dosing options.  It was important to the father-son team to make medicating an easy and enjoyable experience for patients, so the Mini Cookie was born. The new smaller cookie allowed them to hand out memorable samples while attending HempCon and Hightimes events which really began to grow the business. They also began an annual series of local beach clean-ups and donating to the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance.

Big Pete’s Double Chocolate Cookie Mini Cookie made with 20 MGs THC from Indica Butter, Coco powder, Oreo crumbles, and chocolate chips!

Now they carry a variety of 12 flavors including a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie! Nine flavors are available as Mini Singles and in Mini Packs of 6 (our most popular) made with 20 mgs THC from Indica butter per Mini Cookie.  They also make 80 mg Indica Cookies and 40 mg Sativa Cookies in 6 flavors including a Sugar-Free option!  One of their favorite ways to experience a Big Pete’s cookie is fresh from the oven, so they created the Take-N-Bake tub of pre-rolled, frozen Cookie Dough!  With frozen Cookie Dough they are able to hold Cookie Sampling Events in-store with a small oven allowing Big Pete to meet the patients he has had in mind throughout the whole process.  Patients are even able to add their experience to the testimonials page on the website!

Big Pete’s Sugar Cookie always made with green sugar!

They are in the process of re-branding from their original “Big Pete’s Treats” to a more adult targeted “Big Pete’s -Cookies That Treat You Right” campaign.  The feedback from the dispensaries carrying the new packaging has been really positive.  They are also right in the middle of their 2nd annual series of Beach Clean-Ups which is nostalgic for Big Pete, as this success comes full circle from when a high school summer job picking up trash on Main Beach fed his passion for keeping the shoreline clean.

Big Pete at Santa Cruz’s It’s Beach

For the past 6 years we have established ourselves as one of the leading providers of edible Medical Cannabis in California. We have entered contests, won awards and have had our products on the shelves of over 100 dispensaries in California. Most importantly we have received countless positive testimonials from patients. Having experienced substantial growth in the Medical Marijuana movement in California, we envision Big Pete’s Treats growing into all the Medical Marijuana markets nationwide.


Alumni Success Story: Derrick White

oakspicDerrick White
Basic and Advanced Classic Seminar
November 23, 2009 and October 13, 2008

Why I attended Oaksterdam:
I chose to attend Oaksterdam Cannabis University to learn horticulture and to become a certified cannabis cultivator. How ever I didn’t know I would go on to learn business, law, and health. Which opened my eyes to an array of possibilities.

How has it helped or inspired me:
All the different walks of life that attended the course inspired me day one. With so many aspects of the industry to create from I knew this was the perfect for me. Ultimately I began to work for myself to become as independent, creative, and caring as possible. It led me to becoming a web builder, graphic designer, chef healer, marketer, and green inspiration of light.

What I would tell prospective students:
I would tell students to in with an open mind. For what you came to do may not be what you leave doing. you will be taught the highest quality of cannabis education and experience a course like no other. You will never forget the skills you’ll learn and the people you will meet.

9 planet moonbites
9.Planet Moonbites is a branch of 9.Planet Organics. Founded in 2005 we’ve been on the front lines of alternative medication for decades with activism and community efforts. Our goal is to provide the strongest alternative medication to the masses. Each Moonbite is made with love and positive energy assuring the most pleasurable bite on Earth.



Alumni Success Story: Rachel Jacobson

rachel headshotRachel Jacobson
Classic and Horticulture Semester: Spring 2016

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I attended Oaksterdam University because I believe that the cannabis plant was put on this planet for human beings to utilize and that it has the potential to change the world. I stumbled upon Oaksterdam’s campus video on their website about two years ago and everything they said I supported and believed so strongly in, so I made it my mission to move from Minnesota after I graduate high school out here to Oakland, California to attend this unheard-of, fascinating school!

How has it helped or inspire you?
Oaksterdam has both helped and inspired me in many ways. I’ve learned so much about cannabis and the industry as a whole all thanks to Oaksterdam because no one else would ever take the time and energy out of their day to educate me on all of these very real and important matters. I’ve learned everything from taking cuttings from a mother plant, to advocating for pro-cannabis politicians, to making cannabis infused butter, all in a short, 14 week course! All of the instructors and staff are such intellectual, compassionate, and experienced individuals, and to be able to surround yourself with those kind of like minded people creates such an upbeat, proactive environment.

What would you tell prospective students?
I would highly recommend Oaksterdam University to anyone who has the slightest interest or curiosity about this new, flourishing industry. There are so many different routes to go that you can take, and Oaksterdam will introduce you to all of them, as well as give you the opportunity to network with other like minded individuals in the industry.

Natural Cannabis Company – Oakland Organics

NCC-logo-black-497x86Natural Cannabis Co. is a collective of patients and cultivators that provide some of the best quality cannabis in Northern California. I am a bud tender at the Oakland location, but there are also two other locations in Santa Rosa and Hopland.


Alumni Success Story: Aaron P.

Aaron P.Aaron P. is a graduate of the May 26-29 Basic & Adv. Classic Seminar!

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I was looking for a positive way to be involved with the Industry. Oaksterdam offered me an opportunity to learn more about the plant that I love while guiding me step-by-step through various business opportunities. I attended OU to be able to talk to and learn from actual business owners, advocates, attorneys, and growers in the cannabis industry

How has it helped or inspire you?
I was given all the fundamental information I needed to start cultivating, advocating and servicing patients on the benefits of this great plant. It has inspired me to start my own cannabis delivery service to help adults with illnesses such as autism, cancer, and HIV receive their medication. I would like to supply these patients with cannabis cook books to help them prepare convenient medicated meals on a budget.

What would you tell prospective students?
If you want to become a part of the MMJ industry in any way, this is the place to start. No other cannabis school will give you this much experience or give this many opportunities to connect with likeminded people, patients and professionals. The connections you will make here are some of the most helpful and reliable contacts you will find in the industry.

Walter’s Bowl Catering Co .
Medicated and un-medicated dining options, catering for all your special event needs.  Email us at
(Website Under Construction)

We The People 2 is a non-profit company set up to help the under privileged people in the Communitiy get information on jobs, home buying support, resume writing courses, credit repair and tax tutorials

Alumni Success Story: André Thom

andre thom 2André Thom is a graduate of the Indoor Horticulture Seminar (Feb. 13th – 16th, 2016) and was the Valedictorian of the Classic Seminar (Jan. 30th – Feb. 2nd, 2016)

Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I attended Oaksterdam University to understand the business, horticulture and laws surrounding the budding cannabis industry.

How has it helped or inspire you?
Receiving education from OU provided me the knowledge and tools to supplement my formal legal education from the University of North Dakota School of Law. I have a better understanding of the issues and their solutions to effectively assist activists and companies in the cannabis industry.

What would you tell prospective students?
I would tell prospective OU students to attend either all of the seminars or all of the semester classes to gain a well-rounded and thorough cannabis education. Take detailed notes, think of how you can make a positive difference in the cannabis industry, and have fun!


What is the name of your cannabis company, and what do you provide? 


André Thom: Manager, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance Officer at LeafLine Labs, LLC.

Company Description
We are focused on delivering safe, reliable and high-quality medical cannabis while providing knowledgeable, compassionate and dignified care to Minnesotans in need.

Alumni Success Story: Barbara Blaser

IMG_2239Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
For many years I have supported the legalization movement. As a registered nurse working in the hospice field, I would periodically become aware that perhaps families were supplementing our medication with marijuana. even though they would deny it. It seemed sad that there was something available to possibly decrease pain and suffering but we could not support them using it. Now that I am retired I want to learn more and Oaksterdam is the a professional place to obtain the training.

How has it helped or inspire you?
I was stunned at all there is to learn. I think the sections on legal issues was extremely interesting. The sessions with dispensary owners was invaluable. Their patient focused presentations clearly indicated this is not just a business but a mission to improve the lives of patients with some pretty debilitating diseases. I want to know more and I need to do more! Especially for children with seizure disorders that may have hundreds of seizures a day that can be decreased using CBD.

What would you tell prospective students?
Think about where you want to be in the next six months. What do you want to do? If working in the medical marijuana field is something you are interested in then this is the place to be! You can learn everything from proper soil mixtures to grown the best plants to cooking with cannabis.

I need to tell you, if I had a seriously ill family member with a disease that was included in the law-Crohn’s Disease, HIV, Epilepsy, Arthritis and Migraines-I would attend these classes. If I could give my loved one one day one day without pain these conditions cause, I would take these classes.

I also need to tell you though…if you think you can take these classes and do something illegal, I would suggest this is not the place to come. The staff and presenters were all committed to training people who want to make a difference.

Magnolia Wellness

Magnolia Wellness is a patient centered business offering services to people with health conditions that are recognized under current legislation. Free services at Magnolia are geared provide optimal well being for patients and include massage, acupuncture and chiropractic help. Trained staff members assist patients in identifying medication to meet their individual healthcare needs.

Magnolia also maintains a food bank and has a relationship with many agencies providing additional services to our patients. There is even a barber who comes and does haircuts! WE are currently looking to expand to offer opportunities for patient groups such as monthly senior tea and a PTSD support group.

As the new clinical director I recently interviewed over 90 patients at Magnolia. Some drive from places like Fremont and Stockton because are product line and prices are great but the most frequent thing I heard was our service was amazing. Patients felt safe, they felt the staff was caring and knowledgeable. what more could a business ask for! Great products, great staff, loyal patients.

Just to finish this, many of the staff members are graduates of Oaksterdam. Thank you!

Alumni Success Story: Ryan Nessa

ryan nessaCongratulations to Ryan Nessa, the featured February 2016 Alumni of the month!

Ryan is a graduate of the January 23-26 Basic & Advanced Horticulture Seminar

Why I attended Oaksterdam University
I attended OU to further my knowledge in this industry. I wanted to better prepare myself for when I start my own cannabusiness, and Oaksterdam had the type of education I was looking for.

How it helped/inspire me
The experience & knowledge of the Oaksterdam instructors & staff was phenomenal. After attending and being around focused, like-minded people, who all fight for progress in this industry really inspires you to get out there and get the job done.

What would you tell a prospective student?
Come prepared to learn about a lot, and if this is the career path you would like, this is the place to start!

Alumni Success Story: Jonathan Diaz

Jonathan DiazCongratulations to Jonathan Diaz, the featured January 2016 Alumni of the month!

Jonathan is a graduate of the Afternoon Horticulture Semester Sep – Dec 2015

Why I attended OU
I attended Oaksterdam University to gain the knowledge I needed to enter the cannabis industry and grow clean and safe medicine for everyone across the world.  I recently received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army and soon after my discharge I began experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  In order to cope with my symptoms I drank alcohol heavily, in doing so I hoped to gain the slightest hours of sleep during the night. The alcoholism caused damage to my body and my personal life. With the advice of a medical professional, I was instructed to try cannabis before bedtime instead of alcohol.  That was the night I was finally able to get some sleep. 

How it helped/inspire me
Oaksterdam University has inspired me to get involved with the local laws and legislations. It has inspired me to work to the best of my abilities so I may help the prisoners of the drug war that should have never existed.  After learning of the impact I can make by attending jury duty alone, I will always be there when called, so I can let the other jurors know about Jury Immunity and why they cannot be punished for their verdicts. Last but not least, I have gained a huge respect for the earth in my short time in this semester.  I have been inspired to use cleaner energy, buy local resources, and continue to reduce my Carbon footprint.

What would you tell a prospective student?
Anyone who is thinking about attending Oaksterdam University should stop procrastinating! You cannot beat hands-on-training.  Oaksterdam University has a great team that was always there to answer your questions.

Alumni Success Story: Anthony Bey

Anthony Wade Nelson BeyCongratulations to Anthony Wade Nelson Bey, the featured December 2015 Alumni of the month!

Name: Anthony Wade Nelson Bey
Name of courses attended: Basic and Advanced Classic Seminar, September 2015
Date of course: Sept 26, 2015 – Sept 19, 2015

Why I attended OU
Working in the cannabis industry has been a dream of mine 20 years in the making. In September of 2015, I began bringing this dream into fruition when I attended Oaksterdam University’s Basic and Advanced Classic Seminar at their campus in Oakland, California.

How it helped/inspire me
While attending, Oaksterdam University inspired me on so many different levels. I met like-minded humans all striving for one goal: FREEDOM! Together, I believe we as Oaksterdam University alumni will legalize this magical herb worldwide and let all beings know about its amazing, beneficial qualities. After completing my Oaksterdam courses and exams, I was notified I had the highest grade in one of my courses and I was named valedictorian! I was very excited to accomplish this and I plan on using my valedictorian certification to help me to land a job in the cannabis industry.

What would you tell a prospective student
Anyone interested in attending Oaksterdam University should know that if you want to know all about cannabis AND grow it correctly, GO TO OU! All the instructors are incredibly experienced experts in their fields. Where else can you talk to someone with 30 years in the cannabis industry? Nowhere but the original American cannabis college, Oaksterdam University! I have so much gratitude all the instructors, staff, alumni, and the City of Oakland, California!

Alumni Success Story: Denise Martellacci

IMG_1564Congratulations to Denise Martellacci, the featured Alumni of the month!

Denise Martellacci – Graduate of the Sept. 20, 2008 Classic Seminar

Whom am I?

I came of age in Oakland in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My generation had experienced the Kennedy’s and MLK assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate and Nixon. Locally we were tear gassed at People’s Park, participated in Vietnam War protests, oil spill cleanups, and knew a different Jerry Brown and his girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt. The local music scene we listened to was anti-war protest songs by Country Joe, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and experiencing the demise of the scene with Altamont. This experience no doubt influenced me to be who I am today. I learned participation gives the right to a voice.

I’ve been married since a kid, have two great kids, and now a grandmother of two. I was always involved in the kid’s schools and their activities by participation on school boards and fundraising activities. As the kids got older I started volunteering in causes closer to the heart like delivering food to AIDS patients through Project Home Hand. After becoming a medical cannabis patient I saw the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and speaking out on behalf of medical cannabis.

Why I care?

I voted to legalize marijuana in 1972 and here it is 2016 and I hope, finally, this is the year!! I got involved as an activist beginning in 2005 when my local dispensary started having compliance issues with the city’s strict 3 lb. regulations. I had been a patient for several years but was not involved in the movement until I saw the DEA raid our local dispensary and the devastating effects to them, the workers, the patients, and the City’s reputation as a compassionate city where medical cannabis had been tolerated for years. I had spoken out on behalf of the dispensary and its contributions to the community etc. but was really unaware of CaNorml or ASA at that time.

It was witnessing that raid, being hand-cuffed detained for hours and robbed by the DEA at a dispensary I opened in 2007 that motivated me to become involved. I had just been invited by Richard Lee to audit Oaksterdam’s weekend program that encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone to fight for safe access to medical cannabis for patients where it is inaccessible.

Then Hayward City Council member Bill Quirk and I led a campaign for over 2 years to bring a medical cannabis ordinance back to Hayward to no avail. I also lead the successful campaign after being asked by a city council member for a medical cannabis ordinance in San Leandro.

I have always enjoyed my 25 yr. mortgage career and helping make someone’s, whether it was a client, employee, or an associate, life better has always been fulfilling to me. It wasn’t until I opened a dispensary on the Peninsula and found that offering education, quality medicine to help alleviate patient’s symptoms, in a warm and inviting environment, that made a profound change in my passion in life. Hearing daily the stories of returning patients reaffirming the medical benefits of cannabis. I knew the medicinal attributes of cannabis and how it has helped me vs. the Rx route and wanted to share that to older adults. And to take the topic out into the broader community and make it acceptable.

Through my activism in the southern end of the county, my Assembly member, Bill Quirk, named me his alternate to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. With legalization approaching in 2016 I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start a Brownie Mary Democratic Club after hearing Lanny Swerdlow’s call to action. We were just awarded Club of the Year by the County Democrats and recognized for our resolve to generate awareness and acceptance of legalization, perseverance and organizational abilities. We have quarterly meetings at the World Famous Turf Club Club in Hayward at 7:00p.m. On the last Monday of the Month. This month we will have featured guest speaker Attorney Robert Raich speaking on the recent cannabis legislation that has become law, signed by Governor Jerry Brown. My objective is to bring the message of legalization in 2016. The less people in our jails, or marred records that decrease employment or education opportunities for people in our communities the better for all. It is time for people to come out of the closet and help bring acceptance of cannabis that still believe it is the demise of a community.

- Denise