LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Kristoffer Lewandowski, the Marine veteran charged with possession of multiple marijuana plants in Comanche County, has accepted a blind plea deal with the judge in his case. The plea agreement resolves all pending charges filed against Lewandowski.
According to Thomas Hurley, the retired Marine's Oklahoma-based attorney, in the plea deal, Lewandowski, who served ten years in the U.S. Marine Corps deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and the waters off of Somalia, will serve no jail time and plead guilty to a deferred felony charge for marijuana cultivation. If he does not violate the law during a five-year period of probation, no felony will be placed on his record.
"Tens of thousands of people around the country who have remained steadfast in supporting Kris throughout this ordeal have shown we can make progress even in states like Oklahoma that have not yet recognized the many medical benefits of cannabis." Michael Minardi, a medical cannabis attorney based in Tampa, Florida who is serving as part of Lewandowski's trial team commented, "the decision by Oklahoma to go from seeking years of prison time to no jail time at all and just a deferred felony is a huge victory for all of us in this country who are fighting for medical cannabis patients' rights."
In 2012, he was diagnosed with severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following his service tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and, after a cocktail of 14 different pharmaceutical drugs proved ineffective for treating his PTSD, Lewandowski began using medical cannabis.
In June of 2014, deputies responded to a home on Arapaho Street in Geronimo after 32-year-old Kristoffer Lewandowski was seen chasing his wife with a knife. After barricading himself in his home, he ultimately surrendered. That's when multiple marijuana plants were found growing on the property.
“When we get there and we find out we have marijuana there that's being grown, it seems to get worse. And then with children present, this is a bad situation gone worse for the whole entire family," explained Sheriff Stradley at the time of the arrest.
The entire ordeal was witnessed by Lewandowski's two young children. Both were taken into DHS custody before being released to their mother.
In all, marijuana plants were found, along with growing equipment and two guns. Lewandowski originally faced charges of cultivating marijuana, paraphernalia and domestic assault in the presence of a child which, if convicted, could have led to a life prison sentence.
After being charged, Lewandowski returned to his home state of California with his wife and two young children and has been an active leader in the nationwide Weed for Warriors project that advocates for veterans' rights related to medicinal cannabis use. He has also worked to support seriously ill and disabled citizens through the Human Solution International, an advocacy group that is dedicated to preventing the wrongful incarceration and criminal prosecutions of medical cannabis patients.
"I can now go home to California knowing this terrible ordeal is over. For my children and wife, this victory means I will not be separated from them. Fighting daily for veterans and other patients I know this gives hope to so many people around the country. I will continue to fight for all veterans as a part of the Weed For Warriors Project and I know our work has and continues to make a difference. Coming to this agreement shows that the efforts of all of us working together has helped in this fight to free veterans and medical cannabis patients everywhere from the tyranny and persecution we've faced for so many years," Lewandowski said.
According to Lewandowski's attorney, his PTSD and suicidal tendencies have drastically declined following the cannabis treatment.