Former Marine Facing Years In Prison For Growing Plants
Kristoffer Lewandowski is a former marine who now who served three calls of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The now architecture student, husband and father of three is facing criminal charges for growing six marijuana plants to treat his PTSD.
His problems began in Geronimo, Oklahoma where he started having trouble adjusting from marine to regular home life. He experienced many bouts of sleepwalking where he enacted as if he was still in combat in the Middle East. When his wife discovered the marijuana plants he was growing, she destroyed one, causing him to reach for a knife. His actions caused her to flea with their children and go to their neighbors next door.
After a short stand off with police, sheriff's deputies arrested Lewandowski for cultivating marijuana. According to his wife, Whitney, if she did not press domestic-abuse charges against her husband, she would also be arrested. In order to keep custody of their children, Whitney did so. However, after 11 days, child protective services deemed Lewandowski as no threat to the family and there has not been any problems in their household since.
Kristoffer was not free of his problems, though. He was arrested for driving without a license and nabbed by deputies while on foot for having less than a gram of cannabis in his pocket upon being searched. He was then granted permission by a judge to move to Whitney's parents house in California. They soon after found a place in Laguna Miguel.
He was fortunate enough to check himself into he Veterans Administration's Long Beach mental ward, where he discovered the Weed for Warriors Project, which provides free cannabis to veterans suffering from PTSD. However, trouble didn't cease to follow Lewandowski to California. When picking up his son from a church daycare near his home, Lewandowski was arrested by a team of armed federal marshals for failure to appear in an Oklahoma court. He says he was never aware of the court date but, he spent the following week shackled on a bus to Oklahoma and another month in jail. Finally, a judge ordered Lewandowski have permission to return to California.
President of the Weed for Warriors project, Sean Kiernan, is taking a stand with Lewandowski and is publicizing his case. "I see this every week. They run it like a business. They have to tell America they are tough on crime, and they don't care about right or wrong or what the just thing to do is. Kris was facing life in prison, and that's why he had to plead guilty, even if he shouldn't have."
Lewandowski entered a "blind plea" in May, accepting responsibility for his actions and putting himself at the court's mercy."But the thing is," Lewandowski said, "I was using cannabis because of ailments I received in the military. I never joined the Marine Corps because I thought I would be in a situation where I could say, 'I am a veteran and shouldn't be dealing with this,' but I don't know what else to do. I don't want to go to jail for cannabis. I really don't."
Lewandowski returns to court on October 19th.