A new judge and trial date have been assigned to the Kettle Falls Five case, which has gained massive attention recently due to the controversy surrounding the case.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Kettle Falls Five, here’s some background. Medical Marijuana patient Larry Harvey is one of five medical marijuana patients (mostly from one family) in Washington who are being charged with illegally growing marijuana plants, despite the fact that they had a legal right do so via Washington’s medical marijuana program.
The case is extremely controversial mainly due to recent claims by the Federal Government that it would not be spending federal dollars to go after medical marijuana patients in states where the product is legal. Despite these claims, the Department of Justice has spent more than $3 million to prosecute the Kettle Falls Five, and could spend up to $13 million to send them to prison if convicted. The Kettle Falls Five were each growing less than 15 plants in accordance with State Law. In August of 2012, the DEA raided their property, seizing 44 plants, the family’s car, cash, and legally owned firearms. The case has sparked public outrage, and for good reason.
There are many sick medical marijuana patients who are either in prison or being convicted for legally growing plants at home. Aaron Sandusky, a caregiver from California, is imprisoned in Texas with a serious heart condition. Jerry Duval, a dual transplant recipient from Michigan, is serving a 10 year minimum sentence in federal prison. Despite the legality of the product in their home states, these patients were still targeted and attacked by the DEA because the product is still federally illegal. Given this information, it’s obvious why these cases have garnered national attention and outrage. Due to the obvious conflict arising between local and federal governments, congress has even passed legislation curbing DOJ funding for medical marijuana enforcement in legalized states. However, many patients are still being caught in the crossfire between States and the Feds.
The change in the trial date for the Kettle Falls Five comes as the U.S. Senate plans to consider a measure that would permanently prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where the product is legal. Cannabis advocates believe that federal prosecutions such as the Kettle Falls Five would be deeply affected by the passing of this measure.
There are currently 19 licensed adult-use cultivation sites in Spokane, Washington, the town where the Kettle Falls Five will ultimately stand trial. Should they be convicted, this blatant hypocrisy from the federal government will spark national outrage and debate.
For more information, or to find out how you can help the Kettle Falls Five, please visit https://www.kettlefallsfive.com/