Oklahoma has very, very harsh marijuana laws. Get caught for marijuana two times, any amount, and you could be facing up to 10 years in prison. Get caught selling any amount, and you could face life in prison. Commit a marijuana crime within 2,000 feet of a school, public park, or public housing and receive a double period of incarceration and fine, and a mandatory prison sentence (per NORML). If those penalties don’t alarm you, they should. Those penalties should alarm anyone. Putting someone in prison for the rest of their life because they got caught growing marijuana is an enormous injustice, and an enormous waste of public resources.
Some Oklahoma politicians say that marijuana laws in Oklahoma don’t need to be reformed because the laws don’t really result in people actually getting arrested for personal use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana. But that’s exactly what’s happening to Kristoffer Lewandowski. Kristoffer Lewandowski is a 100% disabled US Marine Corps veteran, and is also a husband and father of three children. Mr. Lewandowski served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Lewandowski suffers from severe PTSD, and grew and used marijuana to help with his suffering.
In June of 2014 Kristoffer Lewandowski’s wife and neighbors called police to get help for Kristoffer, who was experiencing a PTSD flare-up. But rather than assisting the disabled military veteran, the Oklahoma police that responded instead searched the home for drugs, and found six marijuana plants that weighed less than an ounce total. I think we all know how this sad story ends. Kristoffer Lewandowski was arrested and charged with felony cultivation, which carries a potentially life sentence in an Oklahoma prison. To make matters worse, Kristoffer Lewandowski’s family moved to California while they were fighting the charge, and the police there arrested him in an overly dramatic fashion. Per Truth In Media:
Earlier this month in Laguna Beach, CA, despite the fact that the Lewandowski family remained in contact with authorities connected to his Oklahoma criminal case, undercover police apprehended Kristoffer by surprise in a dramatic, guns-drawn raid while the Lewandowskis were picking up their children from pre-school, as he had unknowingly missed a prior court date while in the care of a Veterans Administration psychiatric hospital. Whitney Lewandowski, who noted that the undercover officers who picked him up had been following them since earlier that day and could have chosen a different time to make the arrest, said, “To be picked up like that, we’re all blown away. Especially in a pre-school parking lot where all my kids’ friends are, their parents are. Everyone’s witnessing this, and it was horrifying.“
The Truth in Media article has a great interview with Kristoffer Lewandowski’s wife which gives more details about how the case came about. Kristoffer Lewandowski is currently sitting in a jail cell in California waiting to be extradited to Oklahoma where he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. The family of Kristoffer Lewandowski has started a crowd funding effort to help with legal costs (you can donate at this link here). The family also started a petition at Change.Org, and a Facebook page where you can learn more. What Mr. Lewandowski was doing would have been perfectly legal in many states in America. What is happening to him is just plain wrong. Please sign the petition calling for Oklahoma’s Governor to step in and do what’s right and free Kris.