Marijuana

Trial of Kettle Falls Five for Growing Medical Marijuana Postponed

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Americans for Safe Access

The federal trial of five medical marijuana users in Washington state, which had been scheduled to begin on Monday in Spokane, has been postponed until February 23 by the new judge assigned to the case. That gives Michael Ormsby, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, some more time to reconsider his decision to prosecute patients who grew marijuana for their own use in compliance with state law, despite Justice Department guidance indicating that such cases are not a good use of federal resources. The prosecution is especially striking now that state-licensed businesses are openly growing and selling marijuana for recreational use in the very city where the trial is scheduled to be held.

The Kettle Falls Five—Larry Harvey, his wife, their son, their daughter-in-law, and a family friend—were caught growing marijuana in northeastern Washington by the Drug Enforcement Administration last year. Although the number of plants did not exceed Washington's limit for patients with doctor's recommendations and there does not seem to be any evidence that Harvey et al. were growing marijuana for profit, prosecutors argue that the total amount they produced was more than they needed to treat their symptoms. Ormsby's office brought charges that could send Harvey and his fellow defendants to federal prison for terms ranging from 10 years to life. 

More about the case here.

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  1. prosecutors argue that the total amount they produced was more than they needed to treat their symptoms.

    Wouldn’t this be tacit acknowledgement by the federal government that marijuana has medical uses? Is Michael Ormsby really this stupid?

    1. There are lawyers, use lawyer logic. If Marijuana has no medical value, than any non-zero amount is more than is needed to treat their illnesses.

  2. That gives Michael Ormsby, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, some more time to reconsider his decision to prosecute patients who grew marijuana for their own use in compliance with state law, despite Justice Department guidance indicating that such cases are not a good use of federal resources.

    We’ll find out if such notches in their belts are still worth anything to prosecutor resumes.

  3. “could send Harvey and his fellow defendants to federal prison for terms ranging from 10 years to life.”

    For doing what even 4 of 5 Supreme Court justices acknowledged was activity beyond the fedgov’s reach?

    1. 4 of 9

  4. Although the number of plants did not exceed Washington’s limit for patients with doctor’s recommendations and there does not seem to be any evidence that Harvey et al. were growing marijuana for profit, prosecutors argue that the total amount they produced was more than they needed to treat their symptoms.

    I don’t understand why the prosecutors are making this argument at all. Its irrelevant to the federal charges, as there is no safe harbor in federal law for producing the amount you need to treat your symptoms.

    You can’t even determine the amount of production from a given plot until its harvested anyway, so even if the prosecutor wants to make this argument, they’re in a bind. First, they will need expert testimony on how much is needed for each patient. Once they have that, they will have to show . . . I’m not sure what. There’s no possibility that any of those plants could die or pick up a fungal infection or something making the pot useless?

    Its a stupid thing for soulless hack to argue.

    1. Because it’s the way he can justify the prosecution while the DOJ continues to say they won’t go after such cases.

    2. Couldn’t the defense get that evidence suppressed, then? That’d be a hoot! I don’t think there’s any way they could get a conviction without it.

  5. News for you, Mike: Cannabis shall be removed from CSA “Schedule I”, and placed in “CSA Subchapter I, Part A, ?802. Definitions, paragraph (6)”, appended to the list “distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco”, where it will STILL be the least-toxic in the category [by several orders of magnitude].

    In other words, EXEMPT from CSA scheduling.

    Anything short of that is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable.

    I am as serious as CANCER.

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