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Federal Judge To Hear Motion To Dismiss Medical Marijuana Case


Gavel marijuana miami prosecutorA motion to dismiss will be heard in federal court Thursday in a widely watched medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State. Larry Harvey, 71, and other family members of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” have moved for dismissal of their case, arguing that a recently enacted Congressional measure forbids the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting them.

What: Hearing on a motion to dismiss in the widely watched federal medical marijuana case of the Kettle Falls Five
When: Thursday, February 12th at 10am
Where: Courtroom 902 of the Spokane Federal Courthouse, 920 West Riverside Ave, Spokane, WA 99201

“Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws,” reads one of the motions to dismiss written by Harvey’s attorney Robert Fischer. Harvey’s motion argues that state law is undermined by discouraging lawful patients from accessing medical marijuana because of the threat of federal prosecution. Harvey also argues that “federal prosecutions take away Washington’s authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not.”

Harvey’s motion to dismiss comes just two months after President Obama signed the so-called “Cromnibus” spending bill, which included Section 538, an historic rider that prohibits DOJ funds from being spent to block implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Advocates argue that federal prosecutions like that of the Kettle Falls Five run contrary to the spirit and letter of the law now in effect.

The Kettle Falls Five is made up of mostly family members, including Harvey, his wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, and friend of the family Jason Zucker, 39. Larry and Rhonda are retired and have a home in rural Washington State near the town of Kettle Falls. All five are legal patients with serious medical conditions, including Larry who was recently diagnosed with State IV pancreatic cancer, which has metastasized to his liver.

In August 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided the property and seized 44 premature marijuana plants, charging the five with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, manufacture and distribution of marijuana, maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Federal agents also confiscated the family’s 2007 Saturn, $700 in cash, their legally owned firearms, and other personal property. Each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Larry Harvey has been working with medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which hosted his travel to Washington, DC on two occasions last year to lobby for passage of the Congressional measure restricting federal enforcement. ASA also held a DC lobby day in April focused on the measure’s passage. “The law that was recently signed by President Obama was designed precisely for patients like Larry Harvey,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer.
Pending the outcome of the motions hearing, the Kettle Falls Five trial is set for February 23rd in U.S. District Court in Spokane, Washington, before Judge Thomas O. Rice.

Further information:
Motion to dismiss filed by Larry Harvey of the Kettle Falls Five
Congressional measure restricting DOJ enforcement in medical marijuana states

Source: Americans for Safe Accessmake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Thanks for your perspective and information. I’m listening! What’s going on regarding cannbis is an “experience of madness’ imho. It’s a stage and I want to get through it as thoroughly as you and awake! Still walkin’ and talkin’……
    Please keep talkin,’ too.

  2. Whyiowa4medical on

    I heard about a glut of cannabis in WA state and I can see why!!! People are afraid of this sort of thing happening. When will the DEA find a loophole? With the number of opposition in WA. state it won’t take long. Do they honestly want to be remembered for their dirt cheap heroin that at least played a part in the death of Kurt Cobain? The heroin infused grunge movement that died with him (a little later, but not by much)? You are telling me that Seattle wants to be remembered for the graves of Jimmy Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, but not a substance that could have helped them both? When people think of Hendrix they think LSD and the pot that went with it. WRONG, Hendrix loved Quaaludes, same as I did and had mine prescribed, cannabis took away my need for them! I was cured for life from Heroin addiction, painlessly, by cannabis and Peyote on native lands and their rituals. We should be looking into this, and leave all of these medicines off DEA lists until we know more. There is not one of us that is not positive research was destroyed and twisted as well as censored until very recently. With this ended is the only reason it seems to be such a miracle drug, had positive research been allowed throughout all these years it would be almost ordinary and we would simply say, “Well, they found another use for cannabis,” and by tomorrow we would forget about it. I am seeing research I may have to recreate from the notes I have because of some of the potential accusations certain current reports may cause to rise again. I did them once under my professor, I can recreate them easily. Families like this would benefit as we all know the DEA will not look like fools, no matter the dirty tricks they must pull. Each action costs millions from investigation to prosecution. If Washington doesn’t grow up fast, they will be stuck with the image of junkies, death, and open opium robberies from foreign deliveries, i.e. India. Why do you want this to be what people think about when they come to, or bypass Washington. People do not bypass cannabis, Colorado proves this, people bypass Elizabeth, NJ and points north, as well as Seattle for the heroin reputation.

  3. Section 538 arguably protects people complying with state MMJ laws. Prosecutors charged the Kettle Falls defendants with selling to non-collective buyers for a profit, which, if true, would not be in compliance with state law.

  4. Jordan Shorette on

    now if this is fed court and its a medical marijuana case, bc of section 538 wouldn’t it be illegal to even continue the trial which would require fed funds to pay the employees and prosecution? you would think that even switching the courtroom lights on for this specific case would be violating federal restrictions.

  5. Good luck to the Kettle Falls Five! It will be very interesting t hear what the court has to say about the wording of the law defunding the DOJ. On it’s face, it really doesn’t seem worded to protect growers/sellers/patients, and the legislative history of the bill is apparently all about protecting the state employees who implement MMJ laws. We will see. Fingers crossed.

    And congrats to the team of lawyers in the U.S. v. Schweder case in Sacramento who had their oral argument yesterday on the constitutionality of the Schedule 1 classification. The judge said she will rule within 30 days. Win or lose, the hearing was a huge step forward for reform, and the defense attorneys and expert witnesses did a stellar job.

    Finally, congrats to the Berkeley Patients Group on their minor-but-important win in court yesterday.

    The executive and legislative branches refuse to help, but maybe the judicial branch will see the light.

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