Eager to Imprison Medical Marijuana Users, Prosecutors Hide the Truth From Jurors

The Kettle Falls Five still face 10 or more years behind bars, despite a congressional edict that arguably bars their prosecution.



Despite repeated assurances that the Justice Department is not interested in targeting medical marijuana users and despite a congressional edict aimed at stopping it from doing so, federal prosecutors are still trying to put five patients in Washington state away for 10 years or more. In my latest Forbes column, I explain why jurors willing to ignore an unjust law may be the last hope of avoiding that outcome. Here is how the column starts:

Imagine you are a juror in the federal trial of five people charged with growing and distributing marijuana in northeastern Washington. The prosecution cannot present any direct evidence that the defendants sold marijuana to anyone, and the defendants say they were growing all 74 plants for their own personal use. A bit of arithmetic reveals that the total number of plants comes to just under 15 per defendant, which happens to be the presumptive limit for patients under Washington's medical marijuana law. Yet no one says anything about medical marijuana during the trial.

What you don't realize is that the defense attorneys have been forbidden to discuss their clients' reliance on Washington's law, since federal law bans marijuana for all purposes. You also do not realize that each of the defendants faces at least 10 years in federal prison, because their lawyers are not allowed to talk about that either. And despite your suspicion that the defendants were growing marijuana for medical use, you are told that your job is to determine whether they violated federal law, which they undeniably did.

That is the situation jurors will confront when they sit down to hear the evidence against the Kettle Falls Five, whose trial is scheduled to begin on February 23 in Spokane. Larry Harvey and his co-defendants—his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey; Rhonda's son, Rolland Gregg; his wife, Michelle Gregg; and a family friend, Jason Zucker—are gambling that at least one juror will figure out what is really going on and vote for acquittal in the interest of justice, federal law be damned. That is their only hope of avoiding prison unless a federal judge agrees with defense attorneys that the prosecution is barred by a spending restriction Congress enacted last month or the feds suddenly decide to drop a case they have doggedly and inexplicably pursued since August 2012.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Nullify, as is your right.

    1. “The first rule of nullification is you don’t talk about nullification.”-Presiding Judge.

    2. If I were anywhere near there I’d be using my lunch hour to leaflet any car anywhere near the courthouse with nullification lit.

      1. And if you got caught you would probably be arrested, First Amendment be damned, because you’d have pissed off the petty tyrant judge.

        1. I’d risk that. I believe that case law supports the right to leaflet, even though judges don’t like that.

          Also, that would be insurance against ever being called for jury duty.

        2. I once spent a lunchtime with a jury pool I was a part of teaching the few who would listen to me about jury nullification. It wasn’t a nullification case I was on, but I managed to get that nugget of information into their brains, in the hopes it would spread.

          1. Good for you, Andrew.

  2. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, allow me to remind you of what the prosecutor and the judge will say – I do *not* want you to acquit my clients based on some ill-advised belief that the law under which they are being prosecuted is unjust, that it is wrong to send sick people to prison for years simply for their choice of medicine, to persecute them for something that is legal under Washington law, to take a stand for the 10th Amendment and tell the feds to butt out.

    “That would be wrong.”

    1. I am curious how much you could get out before the bailiff tazed you. You can’t un-ring a bell so it might be worth it in closing arguments.

      1. prolly mistrial

      2. it might be worth it in closing arguments.

        As asinine as the situation is, I was just thinking that any lawyer worth their salt should be able to give relevant information in the indirect way that Notorious demonstrates.

        1. Preferably the lawyer should be near retirement or about to change jobs.

      3. More likely the attorney would be cited for contempt and spend the night in lockup.

        1. Like I said above…the lawyer should be about to retire.

  3. my roomate’s mother makes $63 /hr on the internet . She has been unemployed for 10 months but last month her check was $18498 just working on the internet for a few hours. read the full info here……………

  4. It’s a good thing DOJ said it wouldn’t go after state-legal medical MJ users, huh?

    1. Hope. Also, change.

      JUST KIDDING!!! It’s the same shit as always.

  5. I just got a jury duty summons in three weeks, and am really torn between kissing ass to get on a jury in hopes of nullifying whatever victimless crime will probably be at stake, vs expecting that it will be awfully hard to hold my tongue when they spout nonsense so I should just go with it, have fun, and possibly educate a juror or two while pissing off the prosecutor without pissing off the judge.

    1. Every jury duty summons I’ve received during my entire life has resulted in my entire juror group being dismissed without having to appear. I can’t even manage to make it to voir dire.

    2. I’ve resolved to lie my ass off during voir dire so that I can get on the jury and do some good.

  6. Is it just me or does the Forbes “welcome page” feel more like “fuck you”?

  7. The feds have no jurisdiction here. They have no authority to ban possession or manufacture or cultivation of anything inside a state. The accused are entitled to a jury of the district an STATE where the “offense” occurred so they have every right to discuss the state law. The federal system is completely corrupt and rigged and the only defense against it is refusal and resistance. These defendants will be railroaded unless they refuse to submit to the unlawful conduct of the judge and prosecutors. Don’t be gagged. Their best bet is to represent themselves. It is unlikely they will find a member of the bar willing to defy the judge and risk disbarment. What can the judge do? He can throw them in jail for contempt but they are going to jail anyway if they play by the fed’s rules. The judge can’t unring the bell such that the jurors unhear whatever is said before the defendant is publicly subdued.

    1. The judge can call a mistrial, or the prosecution can also. Then, they start all over with another jury. Mind you, this could go on repeatedly, and they may end up having the throw the case out if they can’t find a jury that will convict or be unbiased. So, it could work to their advantage.

  8. Amerika the beautiful. Hopey McChange has been a Godsend for this country.

  9. I’m a Scientist with a strong interest in Cancer research. The evidence of the value of Marijuana as a life saving medicine is now so strong that the need to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 has become a moral imperative.

    This weekend over 3,000 Americans will die, in pain, of Cancer. Every day after that, 1,500 more Americans will die, after suffering horribly, from it. Every single minute another American dies of Cancer. Every American Cancer patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, and economical access to Medical Marijuana. Every single one.

    Americans who need Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “Political Footballs” Please call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask that the President take immediate action to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 so American Physicians in all 50 states can prescribe it. Go to — there are two petitions you can sign electronically there, one to take Marijuana off of Schedule 1, the other to legalize it completely.

    1. I have seen patients ORALLY INGESTING Cannabis Oil and their cancer is cured!

  10. The American Society of Clinical Oncologists wants Marijuana removed from Schedule 1. So does the American Medical Association, the professional society of all Physicians. A strong majority of Americans want Physicians in all 50 states to be able to prescribe Medical Marijuana. So do their Physicians., Cancer patients can’t wait.

    The need to immediately, completely, legalize Marijuana throughout the world is one of the most pressing moral issues of our time, because of its medical benefits and because of the damage prohibition causes to America and to the world.

    Complete legalization is critical — its vital that there aren’t “strings” or “hoops” that Cancer patients and others who need Medical Marijuana are forced to jump through.

    More and more present and former members of law enforcement agree about the need to end prohibition, and have formed a rapidly expanding group of current and former undercover cops, FBI, DEA, prosecutors and Judges, from all over the world, called

    LEAP — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    because they’ve seen the damage prohibition causes to America and the world.


    Medical Marijuana helps with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Cancer, seizures, PTSD and chronic pain, and has helped many Americans, including many veterans, stop using Alcohol, and hard drugs, both legal and illegal ones.

  11. Anyone hear of Jury Nullification?

  12. If the defendants fired their lawyers they could argue nullification and state law, I believe.

  13. This is great focus on the addiction that law enforcement and prosecutors have to their war on marijuana consumers. Besides their general contempt of what they view as the counter-culture, they also profit hugely from the vicious persecution. The federal bribe of “drug war” grants, asset forfeitures, easy overtime, easy arrests and easy promotions all make Prohibition II astronomically profitable to these inquisitors.

    We need more focus like this on prosecutors, police and the other powerful prohibition profiteers: prisons, the alcohol, pharmaceutical, drug testing and “treatment” industries, money-laundering banks and the billionaire drug gangs themselves.

    These are the pillars of greed that sustain the insane war on millions of good Americans.

  14. Judge: “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

    Defendant: “No your honor … you and the federal government will not allow me.

  15. Sign the petition.

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