Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2015
Source: Seattle Weekly (WA)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 Village Voice Media
Author: Michael A. Stusser


An Afghanistan/Iraq vet faces a life sentence for less than an ounce. 
Thanks, Oklahoma.

The Good

Oregon has joined Alaska, Colorado, D.C., and our own great state in 
the Brotherhood of Ganja, officially legalizing marijuana on July 1. 
In several ways, the Oregonians are doing it better than us, allowing 
home grows (four plants each), setting the tax at 17 percent (as 
compared to our newly lowered but still obnoxious 37 percent excise 
tax), expunging the records of those with cannabis convictions, and 
even letting citizens fly with weed within the state. Oregon also 
allows the most pot per person of any of the legal states: up to half 
a pound of Grade A herb (eight ounces) as compared to our paltry 
single-ounce (or 28-gram) limit. Adults 21 and over can carry up to 
an ounce of cannabis and have a pound of edibles in their homes, as 
well as 72 ounces of cannabis-infused liquids. To get a sense of how 
much weed you can possess, the Portland Police Bureau's handy 
reference guide compares chronic quantities to the city's famous Voodoo donuts.

As for buying weed at a retail outlet: Not so fast, Portlandia. 
Because of bureaucratic red tape (green tape?), Oregon's recreational 
stores may not be up and running until fall 2016. Governor Kate Brown 
is considering signing a law that would allow sales of recreational 
cannabis by existing medical dispensaries to begin October 1. Of 
course, Rose City residents are always welcome in Rain City if 
they're running low in the meantime. Visitors will have to smoke all 
their legal ganja before they head back to P-Town, however: Ya can't 
bring cannabis across state lines in either direction.

The Bad

Rush Limbaugh. Just the mention of his name can make you throw up in 
your mouth a little bit. The Great Bloated Reefer Madness Fiend was 
at it again last month on his why-is-this-still-on-the-air radio show.

"I don't have any experience with this so I'm unable to render an 
opinion," said Limbaugh. "Maybe I should go smoke some and find out 
what this is all about and be able to render an . . . [indecipherable 
mumbling] Oh, yeah, eat a brownie. That's what 'wake and bake' means, 
right? Yeah, there's an NFL player who had a Snapchat or Instagram 
post. He woke up and he's all happy, and said, 'Time to wake and 
bake,' and somebody said, 'Wow, that guy does the weed.' So that's 
what wake and bake means. Bake some cookies or brownies, I guess. 
Have you had them? . . . [heavy breathing] What do they taste like? . 
. . [more gasping, munching sounds] I do wonder what they taste like."

OK, a few notes and we'll move on. First, "waking and baking" is not 
about edibles-"baking" is a reference to adding a heated element, 
such as fire, to cannabis, then inhaling through a device. Secondly, 
the "waking" part of a wake 'n' bake, in stoner's parlance, means 
rising each morning and taking a hit off a pipe or bong. Lastly, Mr. 
Limbo, I highly suggest, if you truly haven't already, trying some of 
the wacky weed. Unlike the oxycodone you so covet, it's not 
addictive, and might even calm you while the last of your rapidly 
dwindling minions abandon your show.

The Very Ugly

It bears repeating that, until marijuana is legalized federally, 
hundreds of thousands of Americans will continue to be arrested for 
possession of the plant, and our veterans and loved ones will not 
have access to its medicinal properties.

In our least favorite state, Oklahoma, Marine veteran Kris 
Lewandowski is facing a life sentence for possession of less than an 
ounce of weed-which he was using to help cope with PTSD. Lewandowski, 
who served three combat tours of duty that included stints in 
Afghanistan and Iraq (thank you for your service), was attempting to 
wean himself off a fistful of pharmaceuticals that he'd been 
prescribed for a variety of ailments, including severe PTSD after 
being honorably and medically discharged from the Marine Corps.

In June 2014, neighbors called the police after Lewandowski had what 
his wife described as a PTSD flare-up. Comanche County sheriff's 
deputies responded to a report that Lewandowski had been chasing his 
wife with a knife. Cops searched the house, finding six small 
cannabis plants that did not total a single ounce; in Oklahoma, 
that's bad news no matter how many tours you've served. Among other 
offenses, including a disputed domestic-violence charge, the war 
veteran and father of three was charged with felony marijuana 
possession and cultivation, and could potentially serve a life 
sentence under Oklahoma's draconian weed laws.

Both Kris and his wife Whitney were arrested and charged with 
felonies, and were told their children were being taken to Child 
Protective Services. The police told Whitney her kids could avoid 
that fate-and she'd avoid the felony charge-if she pressed assault 
charges. Though she opposes the domestic-violence charge, she 
understandably took the deal. "They're trying to use me as a victim 
and to make it look worse on his case," said Whitney in an interview 
with Truth in Media. "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."

Since the arrest, the family packed up and moved to California (with 
the Oklahoma DAs approval), where Kris legally obtained a 
medical-marijuana card to treat his PTSD. After inadvertently missing 
a court date-while under supervision at a Veterans Administration 
psych hospital!-Lewandowski was arrested in a guns-drawn raid as he 
was picking up his kids from preschool. The veteran is currently in 
police custody at the Orange County Jail, where he awaits extradition 
to Oklahoma to face his charges. There's a GoFundMe campaign for 
those wishing to help with the family's legal defense, as well as a 
Weed for Warriors Project. Lewandowski's next hearing is scheduled 
for July 22. #SupportOurTroops.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom