You may remember our post last December about the Kettle Falls Five, a family from rural northeastern Washington State involved in one of the most talked-about medical marijuana court cases in the country. A motion has now been filed by the defendant to dismiss the case.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the case is primarily controversial due to a glaring conflict of interest between state and local government. Recently, the federal government passed legislation stating that federal funds would no longer be spent to prosecute legal medical marijuana patients for cannabis-related offenses. Despite this legislation, Larry Harvey (71) and four other medical marijuana patients in Washington are currently being prosecuted for pursuing their legally-granted right to grow cannabis. Each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Now, a motion has been filed to dismiss the case entirely. The motion relies on the recently passed congressional measure that bans funding for medical marijuana enforcement by the Department of Justice. “Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws,” said the brief written by attorney Robert Fischer. The motion argues that State law is being undermined as legal MMJ patients are discouraged from accessing medical marijuana due to threat of federal prosecution. In the brief, Harvey argues that “federal prosecutions take away Washington’s authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not.”
The motion to dismiss comes only one month after Obama signed the spending bill which limited the DOJ from using funds in attempts to prosecute legal Medical Marijuana patients under federal law. The Kettle Falls Five case is quite literally a direct violation of that law.
A hearing on the motion to dismiss is set for February 12th at 10am at the US District Court in Spokane, Washington. Trial is set for February 23rd, but has been moved multiple times and is subject to change again.