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.