Five Washington State Medical Marijuana Patients Face Federal Trials

Five Washington State Medical Marijuana Patients Face Federal Trials

Prosecutions contradict Obama Administration statements, policy against targeting sick patients

SPOKANE, WA — Family members from a rural area of eastern Washington are expected to go to trial next month on federal marijuana charges, despite the Obama Administration’s repeated claims that it does not target seriously ill patients.

The federal trial of the “Kettle Falls 5″ is scheduled for May 12th, pending several pretrial motions which will be heard on April 22nd before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane, Washington. Because of marijuana’s illegal status under federal law, patients like the “Kettle Falls 5″ are typically prohibited from raising a medical necessity or state law defense in federal court.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

Federal agents raided the property of Washington State medical marijuana patients Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

In addition to seizing 44 premature marijuana plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated the family’s 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, medicated cookies and marijuana stored in the family freezer, along with legally owned firearms.

The five federal defendants, including Mrs. Firestack-Harvey’s son, Rolland Gregg, and daughter-in-law, were all qualified patients in compliance with Washington state law. Defense attorneys say the cannabis being cultivated on a remote corner of the family’s 33-acre property was strictly for personal use.

Nevertheless, Mr. Harvey, who suffers from numerous ailments including heart disease and severe gout, was jailed for several days and denied medical attention, which resulted in irreversible bodily harm.

The imminent and rare federal trial comes after two Department of Justice (DOJ) directives were issued in June 2011 and August 2013, both of which underscore that individual patients are excluded from the agency’s enforcement strategy. In the latest memorandum, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole claimed that it was “not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals.”

However, shortly before the raid on the Harvey home, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Washington Michael Ormsby stated his intent to “vigorously” target individuals “even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

“This case is another glaring example of what’s wrong with the federal policy on cannabis,” said Kari Boiter, a supporter of the “Kettle Falls 5″ and the Washington State Coordinator with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “If the Justice Department can continue to aggressively prosecute individual patients without any consequences from the White House, none of these DOJ memos are worth the paper they’re printed on.”

Notably, these federal prosecutions of individual patients continue even after Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2012, legalizing recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Nevertheless, the “Kettle Falls 5″ were indicted in February 2013 and charged with six felonies each: conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

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  • Mike

    This case is a good example of why little notes from AG Holder are clearly insufficient relief for suffering patients. The DEA is in business to turn little cases into big ones. The DEA agents — and the DEA administrator herself — simply scoff at political whimsies like Holder’s advice memos. They get to the office and the only thing they’re thinking about is getting the quota, not justice.

    It’s clearly time for our witless, do-nothing Congress to fix America’s broken laws on marijuana and bring them into conformity with the wishes of a majority of Americans and the realities of 21st century life. Legalize it.

    • Hashweed

      Legalize it!!!!! I couldn’t agree w you more!! The government doesn’t see it as medicine, let alone something that is and will change our life and world.. Like Bob Marley said,” “Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” & I couldn’t agree more. Look at the statistics! How many people have passed from marijuana? NONE, as far as I know….. How many people have died from fucking (excuse my language) alcoholism? Too many to name….

      • Bongstar420

        Its funny…Shouldn’t they be notified that this is exactly what the terrorists want? I mean, this is haram and they would do and say nearly the exact things.

    • Jim Alan

      Eric holder said no guns for med patients. They should have listened, we do, my wife and i are not going down like these idiots

      • Mike

        Seriously? That’s just as bogus an argument as this somehow being a major enough grow operation to warrant federal involvement.

        And exactly how is not having a gun gonna protect you from the feds? Especially when the local USA says he uses Holder’s MMJ memo to wipe his ass with?

        Like B. Franklin said, those who give up their rights in the belief it secures their liberty will likely enjoy neither. Good luck, sir, and you might contemplate the power of solidarity. Because they sure believe in the power of divide and conquer. Don’t take their bait.

        • Bongstar420

          These people are probably lying. The feds need interstate commerce to effectively prosecute anyone plus their local prosecutor may have had a vendetta. The multi-annualized numbers game is just a ploy

  • medimary

    this is just more hideous behavior on the part of the doj & the bop. and of course OBAMA & HOLDER- just disgusting. how do all you tax payers like financing this shit for them???

    • Siddyppowpow

      When I think of how Romney would handle medical Marijuana, I feel better that Obama is in office. He is not perfect but I really fear how a GOP president would handle this.

    • Jim Alan

      The Harvey home was originally raided in August of 2012 by state cops

      who removed 29 plants to keep the family at the 45-plant limit under
      state law. State cops bring a fed with them to most raids just in-case
      they are needed for further prosecution. The group claims they were
      growing 74 medical marijuana plants for their
      personal use at the Harveys’ rural home near Kettle Falls, Washington.
      Defense attorneys said the pot patch complied with state law. The
      family kept numerous firearms at the home… As a caregiver in maine
      I’d love to believe they were legal, but the evidence shows
      otherwise… 74 plants for 6 people, a little excessive dontcha’
      think? Obviously they didnt think. I know of NO patients who need
      that much. They write to Eric Holder, lol thats hilarious! Eric Holder
      already wrote, ” No guns for Pot heads” in a memo to washington 2yrs
      ago. That means you would be charged with “possession of a firearm by a
      prohibited person”.

      The state made mmj legal, why push the grey areas and ruin it for everyone else in your state?

  • John N Tricia Martinez

    Mr Orsmby is violating the 10th amendment rights of these people NEVER BROKE COMMERCE LAW YOU HAVE TO CROSS STATE LINES TO ENVOKE THE 14TH BUT THE FEDS ARE DIRTY AND MAKES DEALS WITH THE CARTELS THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW HAS FEATURED THAT STORY IN THEIR PAPER HELLO THESE PEOPLE ARE BEING ABUSED BY THE FEDS AND STOLEN FROM. WHERE ARE THE CARTELS ARRESTS????? WHY ARE BOA , CHASE , WELLS FARGO, AND HSBC ALLOWED TO LAUNDER MONEY FOR THE CARTELS AND ONLY GET FINED WHEN CAUGHT????? corrupt gooberment I tell ya END THE FED END ENSLAVEMENT!!!!!!!

    • Bongstar420

      The Supreme Court has established president to assume 100 plants or 100 lbs in 1 year constitutes interstate commerce even if there is 0 evidence of such. The system does things like this because people are complacent to the prosecution of “undesirables.”

  • GoJo

    SHAME ON YOU, FEDERALES!!!!!!!

  • norfizzle

    Two things:
    1) GOP stands for ‘Grand Old Party’ and the ‘O’ is capitalized.
    2) The idea that Repubs or Dems differ in terms of big gov’t and state rights is a farce. They all want to condense federal power, save for a few ‘real’ republicans and libertarians.

    Since this is your grandpa, you should start a change.org petition to get the charges thrown out. It would raise awareness of the feds’ disregard for patients, federal attorney general instructions, and state law. Then get groups like Marijuana Majority to promote the petition.

    • Jim Alan

      The Harvey home was originally raided in August of 2012 by state cops

      who removed 29 plants to keep the family at the 45-plant limit under
      state law. State cops bring a fed with them to most raids just in-case
      they are needed for further prosecution. The group claims they were
      growing 74 medical marijuana plants for their
      personal use at the Harveys’ rural home near Kettle Falls, Washington.
      Defense attorneys said the pot patch complied with state law. The
      family kept numerous firearms at the home… As a caregiver in maine
      I’d love to believe they were legal, but the evidence shows
      otherwise… 74 plants for 6 people, a little excessive dontcha’
      think? Obviously they didnt think. I know of NO patients who need
      that much. They write to Eric Holder, lol thats hilarious! Eric Holder
      already wrote, ” No guns for Pot heads” in a memo to washington 2yrs
      ago. That means you would be charged with “possession of a firearm

      The state made mmj legal, why push the grey areas and ruin it for everyone else in your state?

  • sean

    HOLDER & OBAMA =DO SOMETHING RIGHT FOR ONCE ABOUT THIS ISSUE !!!!

    • Jim Alan

      they were over their numbers, if I were over my numbers I’d be held to answer as well. Do we even want any laws anymore?

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  • Jim Alan

    The Harvey home was originally raided in August of 2012 by state cops

    who removed 29 plants to keep the family at the 45-plant limit under
    state law. State cops bring a fed with them to most raids just in-case
    they are needed for further prosecution. The group claims they were
    growing 74 medical marijuana plants for their
    personal use at the Harveys’ rural home near Kettle Falls, Washington.
    Defense attorneys said the pot patch complied with state law. The
    family kept numerous firearms at the home… As a caregiver in maine
    I’d love to believe they were legal, but the evidence shows
    otherwise… 74 plants for 6 people, a little excessive dontcha’
    think? Obviously they didnt think. I know of NO patients who need
    that much. They write to Eric Holder, lol thats hilarious! Eric Holder
    already wrote, ” No guns for Pot heads” in a memo to washington 2yrs
    ago. That means you would be charged with “possession of a firearm by a
    prohibited person”.

    The state made mmj legal, why push the grey areas and ruin it for everyone else in your state?

    • Bongstar420

      This makes sense. Most of these reports leave out important pieces of information…Like having 29 extra plants. That is important to know about the case. In this case, I am assuming we are talking about outdoor plants that are likely to come in over 2lbs a piece. That comes out to….wait for it…..over 140lbs for the year. Bingo, we have a federal case. The perp is in violation of state law, and has met the guidelines for federal prosecution (100 plants or 100 lbs in 1 year).

  • Jim Alan

    They change the law so we could grow then comes these criminals who go over their numbers, and push the limits to ruin it for everyone else…. hey thanks Harvey for carelessly screwing it up for everyone else, there is people who need this for medicine…. and you wonder why the state is at odds with the medical program.

  • Jim Alan

    The Harvey home was originally raided in August of 2012 by state cops

    who removed 29 plants to keep the family at the 45-plant limit under
    state law. State cops bring a fed with them to most raids just in-case
    they are needed for further prosecution. The group claims they were
    growing 74 medical marijuana plants for their
    personal use at the Harveys’ rural home near Kettle Falls, Washington.

    family kept numerous firearms at the home… As a caregiver in maine
    I’d love to believe they were legal, but the evidence shows
    otherwise… 74 plants for 6 people, a little excessive dontcha’
    think? Obviously they didnt think. I know of NO patients who need
    that much. They write to Eric Holder, lol thats hilarious! Eric Holder
    already wrote, ” No guns for Pot heads” in a memo to washington 2yrs
    ago. That means you would be charged with “possession of a firearm by a
    prohibited person”.

    The state made mmj legal, why push the grey areas and ruin it for everyone else in your state? I fully expect the feds to burn me down if I’m caught growing any amount…. thats the chance you take…..

  • Jim Alan

    Yeah he’s just making cookies… rofl. but yet he was way over the number of plants needed or allowed. 6 plants in flower is way more than enough. Sounds like the grandkids may have been slinging a little weed for grandpa.

    • norfizzle

      Have you ever made canna-butter or other concentrates? They require quite a bit of material, potentially more than 6 plants worth depending on how well it’s growing.

      You’re right that they shouldn’t be messing with the law and taking the risk, but is it really worth it to throw someone in jail for 5 years b/c they grew a few extra plants? C’mon.

      • Bongstar420

        Properly formulated, a dose of Cannabis in edible form is equal to .3g. That is not a huge difference. Most people don’t know how to formulate edibles. It takes knowledge and understanding that most people cannot muster.

        • norfizzle

          Show me a common grower getting 2lbs/plant. I’m in NorCal and I’ve never heard of that size yield when growing outdoors.

          Also note that the article says 44 plants, not 74.

          I can’t speak to how much plant matter is required to create edibles or oil, I’ve only heard it is much more than one might assume vs. smoking or vaporizing. Links appreciated.

  • Bongstar420

    They are for a giant police state. Where did you get the idea otherwise?

  • Bongstar420

    These people are reflections of our communities. I’ve met lots of douche tards who think exactly the same as these “authorities.”

  • norfizzle

    Thanks for being thorough and actually posting all this info, you’re right.

    I think 5 years for a MMJ violation is ridiculous and that the DEA has basically become a federal hate group against cannabis users. So any story like this makes me feel more strongly that laws need to change immediately and I’m impatient for them to do so.

  • Littleredtop

    The agents just wanted the car and guns. This should be viewed as legal robbery.

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