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Inland Empire Pot Dispensary Chain Owner Faces Possible Life Sentence

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(credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — The founder and owner of an Inland Empire marijuana dispensary chain is scheduled to go on trial Tuesday for allegedly violating federal pot laws.

Aaron Sandusky, 42, has been charged with six felony counts, including conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Rancho Cucamonga resident allegedly used California’s Prop. 215 along with other state laws regulating legal medical marijuana sales to cover for the G3 Holistic chain, which illegally became a for-profit marijuana-growing and sales operation.

The stores, which were in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley, averaged a profit of more than $3.3 million during an eighth-month period last year.

Sandusky’s brother, Keith, along with four other former employees have been charged and pleaded guilty. Any of them could be called to testify against Sandusky as they await sentencing, Sandusky’s attorney Roger Jon Diamond said.

Local officials had sent a series of warnings to the G3 Holistic store in Upland, which were ignored by the owner, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

If convicted of all counts, Sandusky could face a life sentence.

Sandusky’s trial is expected to last through the week.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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