Andrea Sanderlin Suburban Pot Mom Busted by Feds

June 28, 2013

Patricia Baeten, The Guardian Express

Medical Marijuana is legal in 18 states and legal for recreational use in 2.  Unfortunately for Andrea Sanderlin, New York is not one.  The suburban mother accused of running a sophisticated $3 million marijuana enterprise out of a New York warehouse pleaded not guilty today in federal court.

Sanderlin, 45, of Scarsdale, N.Y., who has been called “pot mom” since her arrest, arrived in court wearing her prison uniform and sporting bleached blonde hair for her arraignment, where she pleaded not guilty.

The mother of two is charged with manufacturing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute it, and for maintaining a warehouse where marijuana was grown and processed, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York.

If convicted, Sanderlin could face a minimum of 10 years in prison and $10 million in fines.

The use, sale and possession of marijuana in the United States are illegal under federal law. However, some states have created exemptions for medical marijuana use, as well as decriminalized non-medical cannabis use.  In two states, Colorado and Washington, the sale and possession of marijuana is legal for both medical and non-medical use. This law however is up in the air for the time being as the states have one year to write laws on distribution and regulation of marijuana.

In July 2009, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, further clarified the federal government’s position when he stated that “marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit” and that “legalization is not in the president’s vocabulary, and it’s not in mine.”

But is marijuana dangerous with no medicinal benefit or is that an ideological viewpoint?

After a 40-year battle over the placement of marijuana in Schedule I, the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, ruled in January on the most recent petition to reschedule marijuana in the case of AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS (ASA) v. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (DEA). The court ruled that the DEA had not acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it denied ASA’s petition filed 9 years earlier to remove marijuana from Schedule I.

Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision” — a classification that holds marijuana more dangerous than cocaine, morphine, or methamphetamine, all listed in Schedule II with accepted medical uses. The court ruled that the research needed to move marijuana out of Schedule I does not exist.

The DEA’s argument, stated in a 2006 report from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is that there are no “adequate and well-controlled studies” proving marijuana’s efficacy.

Those kinds of studies have been done and are published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and yet neither the DEA, nor the HHS, nor the Court took notice.   In the U.S., federal agencies have set-up onerous roadblocks that limit researchers’ abilities to access marijuana — the very impetus for private marijuana research to get started overseas, licensed by friendlier governments.

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Study) is currently seeking regulatory approval to conduct a study of smoked and/or vaporized marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in veterans of war.

MAPS is the only organization working to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of botanical marijuana as a prescription medicine for specific medical uses to the satisfaction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Our efforts to initiate medical marijuana research have been hindered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since our founding in 1986. NIDA’s monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research and the DEA’s refusal to allow researchers to grow their own has paralyzed medical marijuana research, and for over 12 years MAPS has been involved in legal struggles against the DEA to end this situation.

So as long as those at control of the levers of power in the United States can prohibit studies of the benefits of marijuana as a medication, they can make unsubstantiated claims of the dangers of marijuana.  The claims of marijuana being a gateway to other more dangerous drugs only appears to be true on the level that users have get marijuana from illicit dealers.  Because of that, users have exposure to far more dangerous drugs.

Most people don’t think “cops” when they think about who supports marijuana legalization. Police are, after all, the ones cuffing stoners, and law enforcement groups have a long history of lobbying against marijuana policy reform. Many see this as a major factor in preventing the federal government from recognizing that a historic majority of Americans, 52 percent favors legalizing weed.

But the landscape is changing fast. Today, a growing number of cops are part of America’s “marijuana majority.” Members of the non-profit group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) say that loosening our pot policy wouldn’t necessarily condone drug use, but control it, while helping cops to achieve their ultimate goal of increasing public safety. Here are the five biggest reasons why even cops are starting to say, “Legalize It!

So it’s time to have an informed discussion on national legalization of marijuana use and stop handcuffing suburban moms for be entrepreneurial in growing and selling pot.

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