The Contra Costa Times interviewed people outside the courthouse where Aaron Sandusky was sentenced for distributing marijuana.
Aaron Sandusky, who owned and operated three medical marijuana dispensaries in California, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Sandusky was pointed in his criticism of the federal government's policy toward medical marijuana in his statements in court:
"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. "There are no winners here. Not the state, not the federal government, not the patients who need medical marijuana."
The judge, Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court, seemed to agree with Sandusky. Ten years, a truly life-altering sentence, was the mandatory minimum sentence under federal law.
"In this case, as the defendant was warned, the court's hands are tied," Anderson said. "Whether you agree with the defendant's position or not."
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 when voters passed Prop 215. Since then, conflicts with the federal government have been frequent. Though many marijuana legalization advocates hoped things would improve for distributors under an Obama presidency, this has not come to pass. Federal drug laws, and the enforcement of them, are just as harmful and wasteful as they were under George W. Bush, and the conflict with states who have legalized marijuana for medical use is only getting worse. Whether the voter initiatives to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington State are game-changers remains to be seen.