Just days ago TDH reported on United States Marine Corp Veteran Kristoffer Lewandoski, who was facing the possibility of ten years to life in prison over six cannabis plants in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Lewandowski has been in a fight for his life against the Oklahoma legal system. He was set to start a jury trial on May 30, when the unexpected happened. Lewandowski was able to reach a plea agreement with the Comanche County District Attorney’s office that resolved all charges against him.
According to Thomas Hurley, Lewandowski’s Oklahoma-based attorney, in the plea deal, “Lewandowski will serve no jail time and plead guilty to a deferred felony charge for marijuana cultivation.” Hurley went on to say that if Lewandowski “does not violate the law during a five year period of probation, no felony will be placed on his record.”
After learning of the plea agreement, California-based attorney Matthew Pappas stated, “Tens of thousands of people around the country who have remained steadfast in supporting Kris throughout this ordeal have shown we can make progress even in states like Oklahoma that have not yet recognized the many medical benefits of cannabis.”
Florida-based medical cannabis attorney Michael Minardi stated that “the decision by Oklahoma to go from seeking years of prison time to no jail time at all and just a deferred felony is a huge victory for all of us in this country who are fighting for medical cannabis patients’ rights.” Minardi is acting as one of Lewandowski’s trial team.
Lewandowski has had a huge weight lifted off of his chest. In a statement about the plea agreement, he said, “I can now go home to California knowing this terrible ordeal is over. For my children and wife, this victory means I will not be separated from them. Fighting daily for veterans and other patients I know this gives hope to so many people around the country. I will continue to fight for all veterans as a part of the Weed For Warriors Project, and I know our work has and continues to make a difference. Coming to this agreement shows that the efforts of all of us working together have helped in this fight to free veterans and medical cannabis patients everywhere from the tyranny and persecution we’ve faced for so many years.”
Lewandowski served three tours for the USMC. As part of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, in 2007, he served in Iraq, in 2009 he was chasing pirates in Somalia, and in 2011 he was deployed to Afghanistan.
When Lewandowski returned home, he began a vicious struggle with PTSD. Lewandowski was prescribed 18 different prescriptions at one point. He was taking 180 Percocet a month until his liver could no longer take it and he was switched to Oxycontin.
Lewandowski made the decision to try and battle his PTSD and replace the prescriptions that were killing him with cannabis. Cannabis allowed Lewandowski to stop taking his prescription medication. Lewandowski was shocked when he found out several years ago he faced the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison for wanting access to safer medicine.
Lewandowski’s plea hearing will be held Friday, May 26, 2017, at the Comanche County, Oklahoma Courthouse. Directly following the hearing there will be a press conference at 1:30 pm Central time.