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Man Sentenced in Web Pot Sells

September 22, 2000

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A man who sold marijuana over the Internet to customers in 35 states was fined $200,000 Friday and sentenced to five months in a halfway house and five months under house arrest.

Michael David Aronov, 48, of Anaheim, Calif., said he sold the marijuana for medicinal use only. He was arrested after selling the drug to undercover federal agents in Louisiana.

Prosecutors had asked for up to two years in prison.

Aronov started taking orders over the Internet in 1996, receiving payments by mail. Over the next three years, he mailed 994 packages of marijuana to 149 customers, receiving about $227,000 for more than 800 pounds of the drug, prosecutors said.

He said he always demanded proof of why customers needed the marijuana and turned down suspicious offers. ``The only reason I did this was to help the sick people who cannot get it,″ said Aronov, a plumber and inventor.

Federal drug agents learned of Aronov’s company last year after a Louisiana TV reporter contacted police about the Web site.

California law allows distribution of marijuana if a doctor advises that the drug might help with conditions such as glaucoma, seizures or loss of appetite from cancer treatments or AIDS.

Marijuana distribution is illegal in Louisiana.

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