4th Amendment Civil Rights Current Events DEA Marijuana Uncategorized

War Veteran with PTSD Faces Prison

KristofferLewandowskiUnder Oklahoma’s harsh marijuana prohibition laws, 100% disabled US Marine Corps veteran Kristoffer Lewandowski, who served three tours of duty overseas including stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, is reportedly facing up to life in prison for growing under an ounce of marijuana in his home in an effort to treat his PTSD and wean himself off of pharmaceutical drugs. His wife spoke exclusively to Truth in Media about their family’s ordeal. US Marine Corps combat veteran Kristoffer Lewandowski, who served in three tours of duty overseas including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly faces up to life in prison for pot charges connected to a June 2014 raid on his Geronimo, OK home that occurred after his wife and neighbors called police to get him help for a post-traumatic stress disorder flare-up. However, rather than providing mental health resources, police responding on the scene searched Lewandowski’s home for contraband and found six marijuana plants, weighing in at less than an ounce of plant matter in total, and charged him with, among other offenses, felony marijuana cultivation, which, under Oklahoma’s unusually-harsh marijuana laws, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Truth in Media obtained an exclusive interview with Kristoffer Lewandowski’s wife Whitney Lewandowski in an effort to get their family’s story on the record. Whitney Lewandowski said that her husband, a loving father to three children who was honorably medically discharged from the Marines and is 100% disabled due to severe post-traumatic stress disorder, was growing the marijuana for personal use, “He was just using it… He couldn’t get any, and, of course, we’re a military family, we’re very poor, we couldn’t afford to buy it anyway. So he was just growing it for himself. He was on his way out of the military and just wanted to see if it would help with [his mental health issues]. He was taking 13 pills a day, and it was just killing his liver. He was having all these issues with his body and he just wanted to try something more natural to just see if he could do without that many pills a day.” She called his medical marijuana treatments “absolutely effective.” On that day in June of 2014, Kristoffer Lewandowski had a PTSD episode and Whitney Lewandowski left and took their three children to their neighbors’ house to “diffuse the situation.” When their neighbors called police in an effort to get mental health help for the struggling war veteran, officers responded, searched the Lewandowski’s home, and began a drug investigation instead. Whitney Lewandowski said that she was initially handcuffed under investigation for the same charges, placed in a police car, and told that her children were going to be taken by Child Protective Services. However, authorities offered her the opportunity to remain free and keep their kids if she pressed charges against her husband for domestic violence. In an effort to keep the children, she agreed to do so and later discovered that she could not rescind those charges without re-activating the felony marijuana cultivation charges against herself. Police arrested Kristoffer Lewandowski and charged him with felony marijuana cultivation, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a domestic violence offense. Whitney Lewandowski noted that, though police were originally called to help Kristoffer, “the kind of help he got was being tossed in jail.” Whitney Lewandowski said that the domestic violence charge does not reflect the reality of her husband’s behavior, “They’re trying to use me as a victim and to make it look worse on his case. My husband has absolutely never laid his hands on me ever. He is not an abusive man, ever… quite the opposite. He is extremely doting.” She noted that, at the time of the raid, police included tomato plants that were also growing in Kristoffer Lewandowski’s home while weighing his personal-use cannabis which she said “made it look like he had this huge grow [operation] going” in media reports on his arrest. After the arrest, Whitney Lewandowski pulled together funds to pay a bail bondsman to cover his $20,000 bail and their family moved and continued their life in California, where Whitney has family ties. While in California, Kristoffer Lewandowski was prescribed medical marijuana to deal with his crippling post-traumatic stress disorder and began treatment legally.

By Barry Donegan

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