Aaron Sandusky.
Aaron Sandusky. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Staff Photographer)

LOS ANGELES -- The president of three, now-closed, medical marijuana cooperatives in San Bernardino County will face drug trafficking charges Tuesday in court.

Aaron Sandusky, who ran G3 Holistic, Inc. in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley, could be sentenced from 10 years to life in prison if found guilty.

Jury selection is scheduled Tuesday for the trial that will be in front of U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson.

Sandusky and five others affiliated with G3 were arrested and indicted in June on federal charges of drug-trafficking as well as conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

The defendants, including Sandusky's brother, Keith, were also charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Sandusky ran a warehouse in Ontario, but the Upland location was the only one in operation when he was arrested.

Sandusky's attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, said the federal government led his client to believe that the executive branch would not enforce federal medical marijuana law in California.

In 1996, state voters approved Proposition 215, which allows the usage and sale of medical marijuana in the state. But marijuana - medical or otherwise - is illegal under federal law.

President Barack Obama said in 2008 that the federal government would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in those states that had legalized medical marijuana under state law, Diamond said. Attorney General Eric Holder supported Obama's position.

Diamond said a key memorandum was issued Oct. 29, 2008 by Deputy Attorney David W. Ogden.

"It confirmed the federal government had no interest and would not prosecute in those states, including California, where the state had legalized such activity," Diamond said.

Sandusky opened his facility in 2009 with an understanding of the position held by federal officials.

Sandusky said the situation is concerning.

"I've gone over a lot of trials that have gone before the federal court - and considering all of them have been found guilty and all of those that I've seen have been denied to use medical marijuana defense - it's a bit nerve wracking," he said.

Sandusky said he is actually facing 13 years in prison with enhancements.

"Thirteen years, which is just mind-boggling to me. It's mind-boggling that I'm not going to be out of jail - if I'm convicted - when I'm 55 years old - for what?" he said.

Bruce Riordan, special counsel for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said it's "the policy of the Department of Justice not to comment on pending litigation."

Diamond noted that Sandusky faces more prison time than former Upland Mayor John Pomierski, who pleaded guilty April 26 to a federal bribery charge. Pomierski admitted he accepted a $5,000 bribe in return for helping a business get a conditional-use permit.

"They want to give him five times what the mayor got," said Diamond, in reference to Pomierski's sentence.

"The former mayor got two years. It's so ironic because it's Aaron Sandusky who's helping people who are sick and in pain," Diamond said. "He's helping people with doctor's recommendations. For that, the government wants him to do 10 years. And the mayor for selling out the people of Upland gets two years."


Reach Wes at via email, call him at 909-483-8549, or find him on Twitter @ClaremontNow.


Reach Sandra via email, call her at 909-483-8555, or find her on Twitter @UplandNow.