"Pot Mom of New York" might not be a title most mothers dream of, but Andrea Sanderlin has earned it — along with millions of dollars, allegedly. The mother of two accused of running a multimillion-dollar marijuana business was released on bail yesterday as she waits to be tried on federal drug charges. Four people pitched in on the marijuana maven's $500,000 bail, two of whom claimed to be friends of the father of Sanderlin's 3-year-old daughter and two of whom claimed to have last seen the Pot Mom at a social gathering.
Due to the unusual relationship between Sanderlin and her bail saviors, a judge said he would require signatures from the Pot Mom's mother and stepfather in Virginia as well as her daughter's grandmother before she was released.
The New York Pot Mom was arrested on May 20 after authorities raided a warehouse in Queens and found $3 million worth of pot, including some 3,000 plants, large amounts of harvested weed, and state-of-the-art lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems.
Look inside the Pot Mom's New York grow operation:
Police had followed Sanderlin to the warehouse, which was registered in her name. It is unclear how long the Pot Mom had been allegedly running the weed enterprise, but officials claim Sanderlin registered the name Fantastic Enterprises in 2007. The DEA said that when agents raided the Pot Mom's home, they found books on how to grow marijuana and how to launder money.
Sanderlin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges including manufacturing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute and for maintaining a building where marijuana was grown and processed.
News of a real-life Pot Mom has caused a media stir, drawing immediate comparisons between Sanderlin and Nancy Botwin, the main character of the Showtime series Weeds. Botwin, played by Mary-Louise Parker, is a suburban widow and mother of two who turns to dealing weed in order to maintain her middle-class lifestyle, and quickly ascends the trafficking scale from selling dime bags to warehouse operations and even clashes with Mexican cartels. Sanderlin, an equestrian and resident of New York's upscale Scarsdale, bears intriguing similarities to the Weeds character.
Watch a scene from Weeds:
Prosecutors have resisted the entertaining comparisons between the New York Pot Mom and the popular Weeds antihero, stating in a federal indictment that Sanderlin was no different from Colombian drug lords.
If convicted, the Pot Mom of New York could face a minimum of 10 years in prison and fines up to $10 million.
As part of Sanderlin's release on $500,000 bond, she will remain under electronic monitoring while she stays at a relative's Manhattan apartment awaiting trial. Her next court appearance is set for July 15.