Andrea Sanderlin: NY Marijuana Business Owner the Real Life Mom From 'Weeds'

Andrea Sanderlin, 45, lives a simple life in her Scarsdale, N.Y., mansion with her daughters and her Mercedes SUV. A single woman, Sanderlin lives well and passes the time by riding horses at the Bronxville equestrian academy Twin Lakes Farm and maintaining a small business that just happens to be a multimillion-dollar marijuana enterprise. 

The media and authorities are deeming Andrea Sanderlin a real life version of the main character from the show Weeds, a suburban mother who lives a double life supporting her family with the revenue of her very own pot business. Sanderlin was arrested on May 29 after the police had long been observing and keeping tabs on a warehouse in Queens that suspiciously was racking up an incomprehensibly outrageous monthly electric bill, one of which went up to $9,000.

These high electric bills were all part of a maintenance regiment that kept her 1,000-marijuana-plant-operation afloat, which consisted of the following: providing her products with high tech lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems to promote optimal growth and quality. 

Brian Crowell, Special Agent who heads the New York division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), reported that the warehouse was home to a $3 million worth of hydroponic marijuana and was the cite of production for about 3,000 cannabis plants. For a 45-year-old woman, we have to admit that she had some serious guts, just maybe not the kind that are desirable or even necessary for a sustainable life. 

While Sanderlin’s story may be entertaining in a sense largely for its cinematic flair, the repercussions she can face and the dollars it will cost New York tax payers are not quite as amusing. Yes, the ceasing of this Queens drug operation does not just affect Sanderlin, her accomplices, or her family. 

First, if she is convicted of trafficking marijuana, she will be placed behind bars for a minimum of 10 years, a possibility that is not very becoming of a 45-year-old mother of three or frankly anyone for that matter. Not only would such a conviction mean that Sanderlin will senselessly miss out on a decade or more of her life, but most importantly, her children will lose their mother for a reason that could have been avoided. In terms of how the public is affected, the unfortunate price Sanderlin may pay for her crime also translates into precious tax dollars, a fact that could not possibly sit well with anyone. 

According to a report by Gothamist, in 2010, NYC tax-payers alone spent $75 million on small misdemeanor pot busts. Apparently, drug busts are the real gifts that keep on giving. Since no one wants their tax money going towards shenanigans, it appears that we could learn two lessons from this event. First, perhaps the marijuana industry would be better off legalized and second, we should no longer give middle-aged-women the benefit of the doubt if we suspect someone down this street is cultivating a pot garden — or warehouse.