Medical marijuana president opens legal defense fund
August 27, 2012
Sandra Emerson, LA Daily NewsAaron Sandusky is seeking a little help from his friends in the pro-medical-marijuana movement in his defense against the federal government.
Sandusky, the president of G3 Holistic, a now-closed medical-marijuana cooperative in Upland, has opened a legal defense fund to help him pay attorney fees and some living expenses while he is under house arrest awaiting his trial.
"This has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I have always been the one giving," Sandusky said in an email. "I have never had to ask for any help like this before but (because) the DEA has seized all my personal assets, forced our business shut, put me on house detention and are monitoring my every move, I don't have many choices."
Sandusky and five others affiliated with G3 were arrested and indicted in June on federal drug-trafficking charges.
The six defendants, including Sandusky's brother Keith, who is also under house arrest, were charged in a conspiracy to manufacture and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, according to the indictment.
The indictment also charges all the defendants with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Sandusky ran co-ops in Moreno Valley and Colton as well as a warehouse in Ontario. The Upland shop was the only one operating at the time of the arrest.
Sandusky said the public has heard about his situation and has been asking for ways to help, so he decided to open the fund.
"I know these are very difficult times to be asking people for money but I don't really have many choices and as you can imagine my legal expenses are great," he said. "It's really important that we win this case by jury nullification, I'm hoping, and I believe we can achieve it in this state and more important in L.A. County."
State voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, allowing medical marijuana in the state.
But marijuana - medical or otherwise - is illegal under federal law.
"I think it's important to let the public know what is going on in this case and how our rights are being violated," he said. "This is not only an attack on medical marijuana but an attack on our rights as voters to enact laws, this was voted on and passed by the people."
Sandusky is one of about 100 people across the country who have been indicted by the federal government since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access.
"So he's among a lot of other people who are facing similar prosecution," he said.
The nationwide organization is aware of Sandusky's situation and is encouraging medical-marijuana advocates to support him in court and with legal funds.
"Typically we post hearing dates, and we encourage folks to show up for those hearings and when the trial occurs, and in Aaron's case he's not waiving his speedy trial time so that's fairly soon, we would try and get people into the courtroom as supporters," Hermes said.
Hermes said Americans for Safe Access has been pushing the federal government to stop its aggressive attacks against medical marijuana not only in California, but around the country.