Pot Dispensary Owner Gets 10 Years
Federal and state law clash over a California dispensary owner who "manipulated" the system.
A southern California man was sentenced Monday to ten years in federal prison for operating medicinal marijuana dispensaries, even though they are legal under state law. Aaron Sandusky, of Rancho Cucamonga, ran three marijuana dispensaries, known as G3 Holistics, which reportedly served 17,000 medical marijuana patients. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, but remains illegal under federal law, leaving the decision up to U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson. Because of the amount of marijuana involved, Anderson gave Sandusky the mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, saying that the dispensary owner had "kind of lost his way about what's right and what's wrong—his moral compass." Sandusky and his lawyer, Roger Diamond, believe his sentence was an overreach by the federal government. “I want to apologize to those with me and their families who have been victimized by the federal government who has not recognized the voters of this state," said the defendant in court on Monday. But the U.S. Attorney's Office released a memo claiming that Sandusky had manipulated the system, describing him as “an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding ‘medical’ marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself.” The memo also says that Sandusky “used G3 as a means to replace the vast income he lost from the collapse of his real estate business. [The] Defendant built a veneer of legitimacy around his criminal enterprise using his customers’ good-faith search for pain relief. There is absolutely no altruistic component to defendant’s continued and sustained criminality."