Medical marijuana proprietor gets 10-year prison sentence

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 13:53 EDT
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Convicted marijuana seller Aaron Sandusky. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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A man who owned several medical marijuana dispensaries in California that ostensibly operated legally under state law was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in prison on charges that he violated federal law restricting production and sales of the drug.

Aaron Sandusky did not try to fight the charges, admitting to producing and selling medical marijuana in a manner approved by state law.

“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,” Sandusky said in court, according to The Contra Costa Times. “I want to apologize to the families who are suffering and who have to go through this.”

Sandusky’s supporters have long known the sentence was coming, but it wasn’t clear how long he’d be locked up. As it turned out, 10 years is the minimum the judge could have dispensed. In response, nearly 20,000 people signed a White House petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon Sandusky, whose case has been followed closely by the libertarian-leaning Reason magazine.

Although the Obama administration has consistently directed federal prosecutors to avoid wasting resources on individual patients who use marijuana for medical purposes, state-sanctioned production and distribution centers have been busted more frequently in the last four years than at any point in the drug war’s history.

While the Obama administration reiterated its position following successful legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington, Sandusky’s case will likely be an ominous reminder of what could happen to virtually any ambitious entrepreneur looking to get in on America’s long predicted “green rush.”

Reason magazine published this video to YouTube on January 7, 2013.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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