Medical Marijuana

In a State Where Marijuana Is Legal, Three Patients Await Sentencing for Growing Their Own Medicine

Federal prosecutors say the defendants should go to prison for years.

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Family Photo

Next week three members of the Kettle Falls Five—medical marijuana patients in Washington state—are scheduled to be sentenced on federal drug charges. In my latest Forbes column, I explain that the case has been a puzzle from the start:

During their trial at the federal courthouse in Spokane last March, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey and her two fellow defendants—her son, Rolland Gregg, and his wife, Michelle Gregg—were not allowed to explain why they were openly growing marijuana on a plot in rural northeastern Washington marked by a big green cross that was visible from the air. According to a pretrial ruling, it was irrelevant that they were using marijuana for medical purposes, as permitted by state law, since federal law recognizes no legitimate use for the plant. But now that Firestack-Harvey and the Greggs have been convicted, they are free to talk about their motivation, and it might even make a difference when they are sentenced next Thursday.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. The defendants’ lawyers say the correct number is 68. Either way, the total was below Washington’s presumptive limit of 15 plants per patient.

    What am I missing here, we have three charged (three patients) with 68 plants, 15 plants per patient should allow them a total of 45 plants. Would that not put them above the limit as proscribed by state law?

    1. There were 5 defendants originally. One was too sick to prosecute and the other turned rat for a lighter sentence.

      5 x 15 = 75 plants.

      1. I believe he turned rat with their acquiescence, since they had already admitted to everything he testified to. He has a prior conviction that left him susceptible to a much worse sentence than the others.

  2. If the House of Representatives had any balls, they’d impeach this prosecutor for violating the Rohrenbacher (sp?)/Farr Amendment and spending money undermining state medical MJ laws.

    Impeach the judge too, while you’re at it.

    1. But I predict they’ll get long (but not ridiculously long) sentences like five or ten years, because we can’t send ‘the wrong message’ about how ‘drugs are bad, mmmkay??’

      And ‘if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime’ and other law-and-order worshipping memes. The ‘message’ is too important to be reasonable or merciful. And by being found guilty any sense of rationality was long since abandoned.

      1. I say, frame this as “defiance of the will of Congress,” and see if the House still supports the prosecutor and judge.

      2. Justice matters little. It’s all about the message.

  3. This is bullshit. That is all.

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