Medical marijuana federal trial for Inland Empire man begins this week

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The federal trial of a man who owned and operated three medical marijuana dispensaries in the Inland Empire began Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles. Aaron Sandusky, 42, faces six felony drug charges for allegedly growing and selling marijuana.

Sandusky ran G3 Holistic stores in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley. Federal drug agents raided his operations in November; since then, authorities have shut down all three. Five others involved with G3 Holistic were arrested in June and indicted on federal drug trafficking charges. Sandusky was released from jail in August and was placed on house arrest.

During jury selection Tuesday, at least 20 medical marijuana supporters showed up wearing green ribbon lapel pins. Some said they were patients and customers of Sandusky’s. Many said they were members of a pro-medical marijuana activist group called The Human Solution.

“We believe that if we fill up every courtroom and show our protest against this, that at one point, the jurors are going to learn their trick. There’s a power that a juror has,” said Joe Grumbine, who also faces marijuana charges in a state court.

The group hops from court to court at attending medical marijuana cases like Sandusky’s. A handful of them said they plan to attend this trial through its anticipated end on Friday.

“The DA’s have complained about the ribbons but every judge so far has said the ribbons don’t mean anything,” said Stephanie Landa, a member of The Human Solution.

Sandusky’s case begins this week as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles warned about 70 pot shops that they have until Tuesday to shut down or risk prosecution.

As the ribbon-wearing supporters stepped outside the federal courthouse for a short break, a crowd of medical marijuana supporters rallied across the street at Los Angeles City Hall. On Tuesday, the LA City Council officially voted to repeal the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries it proposed. That leaves the city without rules that sanction or prohibit marijuana clinics.

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