‘Kettle Falls Five’ Members Get Prison Time In Federal Marijuana Case

WASHINGTON: The marijuana grow that netted jail time for four members of a self-proclaimed medicinal farming family out of Stevens County may have started with good intentions, but ended as a “distribution center,” said the federal judge who handed down their sentences Friday.

“Maybe that was a byproduct of being so successful,” said U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice, ruling the members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five grew more than 150 pounds of marijuana in the hills of Stevens County between 2011 and 2012.

Rice sentenced Rolland Gregg to 2 years and 9 months in prison. He gave Gregg’s wife, Michelle, and his mother, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 1 year and 1 day in federal custody. All will remain out of prison pending an appeal, a notice of which will be filed in the next two weeks, said lead defense attorney Phil Telfeyan.

Larry Harvey, Famed Washington Medical Marijuana Patient, Dies From Cancer

WASHINGTON:  Larry Harvey, a Washington state medical marijuana patient who had faced 10 years in prisonin a high-profile federal pot case, died Thursday at age 71, a family spokeswoman said.

Harvey succumbed to pancreatic cancer in Colville, Washington, Kari Boiter, a medical marijuana activist and spokeswoman for the family, told HuffPost.

Federal prosecutors dropped all charges against Harvey six months ago in the medical marijuana case because of his terminal cancer diagnosis. The case also included three members of Harvey’s family and a family friend. All were certified medical marijuana patients who grew marijuana near their home for personal medical use.


Member Of Kettle Falls Five Sentenced To 16 Months In Jail For Marijuana Operation

WASHINGTON:  A federal judge rejected the medical marijuana defense of a member of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” growing family and sentenced Jason Lee Zucker on Friday to 16 months in prison.

“There is no such thing as medical marijuana,” U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice said. “There is no such thing in federal law.”

Zucker is the first to be sentenced in the case. He pleaded guilty the day before trial began in March and testified for the federal government against Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg, saying he twice brought more than 70 plants from his home in Seattle to the Harvey property in rural Stevens County in 2011 and 2012. Assistant U.S. Attorney Caitlin Baunsgard said Friday Zucker’s testimony was “integral” to obtaining convictions against his co-defendants and urged the lighter sentence. He could have been sent to federal prison for five years.

‘Kettle Falls Five’ Outcome May Mean Changes For Federal Drug Prosecutions

WASHINGTON:  At least one interested onlooker at this week’s federal trial of self-proclaimed medical marijuana growers from Stevens County believes it’s unlikely federal prosecutors will pursue similar charges again.

“My belief is, unless it’s an extremely unique factual case, we will not be seeing these types of cases in federal courts any longer,” said Roger Peven, who has defended federal criminal cases in the area for three decades and was once head of the Federal Defenders Office in Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Peven observed several days of the trial of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” in a downtown federal courtroom. Others nationwide followed the daily proceedings of the case, which was seen as an indication of how dogged federal authorities would be in pursuing criminal charges against marijuana growers in states that had decriminalized aspects of the industry.


Federal Jury Acquits On 4 Of 5 Pot Charges Against Kettle Falls Five

WASHINGTON:  A pot-growing Kettle Falls family was acquitted on four of the five federal charges against them tonight in a case that was seen as a barometer for how conflicts between state and federal drug laws will be handled.

Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, along with her son Roland Gregg and his wife, Michelle, each were convicted of one count of growing marijuana by a federal jury following a weeklong trail in U.S. District Court in Spokane. They were acquitted of conspiracy, trafficking and firearms-related charges but could still face prison terms of at least five years each on the production charge.

Deliberations Begin In Washington Medical Marijuana Trial

WASHINGTON:  Jurors Tuesday began deciding a case that marijuana-legalization advocates hope is one of the last of its kind: A federal prosecution of medical marijuana users.

The 12-member federal jury is deciding the fate of three members of a group known as the “Kettle Falls Five,” who in 2012 were caught growing marijuana on property belonging to Larry Harvey and his wife. A grand jury indicted Harvey and his wife, their son, daughter-in-law and a family friend, charging them with illegally growing and distributing marijuana in the forest outside their northeastern Washington home.

The group claimed they were growing the marijuana for their personal medical use — Harvey has advanced pancreatic cancer — and invoked protections under Washington state’s medical marijuana laws. All had doctors’ recommendations for medical marijuana use.

But federal prosecutors have continued pressing the case, arguing that federal law makes no exemption for medical use, and that the amounts the group had far exceeded personal use. Police seized more than 8 pounds of marijuana from the home. Because it’s a federal prosecution, Judge Thomas Rice has barred the defendants from even mentioning “medical marijuana” as a defense.


Lawyers Make Closing Arguments, Verdict Expected Soon In Eastern Washington Medical Marijuana Case

WASHINGTON:  After nearly four days of questioning witnesses and showing dozens of photos and videos, lawyers in the case of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” made their closing arguments Monday afternoon. The government will get one more chance this morning to rebut the defense’s arguments and then the case will be handed over to the jury.

This is the widely watched case that I just wrote this feature about—an Eastern Washington court showdown that’s pitting Washington State laws allowing medical marijuana against black-and-white federal drug laws that classify pot as more dangerous than drugs like cocaine and meth.

The basic facts in this case:  A group of five medical marijuana patients—Rhonda and Larry Harvey, Rhonda’s son Rolland Gregg and his wife Michelle, and their family friend Jason Zucker—grew 74 plants on the Harveys’ property two hours northwest of Spokane. (Just three of them remain defendants in the case now, since the government dropped the charges against Larry, who’s battling late-stage cancer, and cut a deal with Zucker.)

While state law limits patient collectives to 45 plants, it also allows individual patients to grow 15 plants, so the the defendants say they thought they were allowed a total of 75 plants (5 people x 15 plants each). In August of 2012, Sheriff’s office detectives raided the home, cut them down to the 45 plants allowed, and left, only to turn the case over to the DEA, which led its own raid a week later.


Medical Marijuana Trial Pits State Vs. Federal Laws

WASHINGTON:  Federal prosecutors are trying to persuade a jury that a cancer-stricken man and his family were illegally growing and distributing marijuana in the forest outside their northeastern Washington home despite claims by the “Kettle Falls Five” that they were instead raising legal medical cannabis for their personal use.

The case against Larry Harvey‘s family has become a cause celebre among the marijuana community, which sees it as a prime example of the continued disconnect between state and federal marijuana laws. Washington state last summer allowed legal recreational sales, although the raid on the Harvey’s home happened in August 2012. And Congress late last year effectively barred the Justice Department from interfering with states that have medical marijuana systems.

Legalization advocates say it is a case of misguided federal marijuana laws and overzealous prosecutors unable or unwilling to accept the reality that most Americans would prefer to see pot users left alone.

Cannabis Legalization In America

WASHINGTON: In Washington State, where voters made recreational marijuana legal for adults, the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” family face 10 years in prison for a medicinal grow!

The SUPERSTARS of hempfest give their recommendation to states fighting for legalization. 420_MEDIA’s Kerri Accardi put together the following film in support of the family’s upcoming trial.


Judge Denies Dismissal Of Marijuana Case Against ‘Kettle Falls Five’

WASHINGTON: Judge Thomas O. Rice has denied the motion to dismiss the criminal case against the Kettle Falls Five, setting up a likely appeal. You can read Rice’s motion at the bottom of this story.

Original story follows:

The trial for the quintet of marijuana farmers dubbed the “Kettle Falls Five” seems destined for another delay.

When it commences, it may be the trial of the Kettle Falls Four.

The attorney for Larry Harvey, patriarch of the family now facing federal criminal prosecution for what they believe was a legal medical marijuana grow near Colville, said he’s confident the U.S. Attorney’s Office will drop the charges against the 71-year-old based on his failing health.