THIS is what the federal gov’t is spending our money on???
Washington State Family Facing Serious Jail Time For Growing Medical Pot
Four family members and a close family friend in a rural town in northeastern Washington are facing years in federal prison for growing marijuana for their personal medical use.
Larry Harvey, 70, his wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, their son Rolland Gregg, 33, and Rolland’s wife Michelle, 35, as well as close family friend Jason Zucker, 38, claim they were individually growing 74 marijuana plants for their own medical use at the Harveys’ rural home near Kettle Falls, Washington, as is their right under state law.
“There is no hidden agenda here,” Rhonda said Thursday in a statement to the media. “My husband and I are retired, but work hard to live a peaceful, sustainable life in the northeast Washington wilderness. We both have serious health issues and were told by our doctors that medical marijuana could help. All five of us have qualifying conditions, actually, and the garden was below the limit of 15 plants per patient.”
“It’s outrageous that the federal government is wasting money prosecuting five patients who were in total compliance with state law,” Rhonda added.
The Harvey home was first raided by state authorities in August 2012 after two flybys from Washington state’s Civil Air Patrol — the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force — reported an apparent marijuana grow near the Harvey residence.
On Aug. 9, according to a motion filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, state law enforcers raided the Harvey property and found 74 plants growing near the home. Under the presumption that the family was growing this cannabis as a collective, rather than individually, officers seized 29 cannabis plants so that the family would be compliant with state law, which limits collective crops to no more than 45 plants. The authorities did not press charges or seize any other assets.
All good right? Nah…
However, days later, on Aug. 16, federal authorities showed up with a new warrant and conducted a more comprehensive raid. At the time, authorities were enacting a widespread crackdown on medical marijuana providers — an effort that extended into states like California and Colorado — at the directive of the Obama administration. During the Aug. 16 raid, Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized the Harveys’ remaining marijuana plants, as well as about five pounds of raw cannabis and some marijuana-infused edibles from the freezer.
The feds also seized a 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, a computer, a motorcycle and an ATV, along with the family’s legally owned firearms.
In 2013, the five patients were indicted by the U.S. attorney’s office for eastern Washington. According to the defendants’ attorneys, all of them were growing cannabis in compliance with state law. Still, the federal government has charged each of them with six felonies apiece, including manufacturing, possession and distribution of marijuana, as well as the possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to the indictment.
During pre-trial hearings for the case this week, the family unanimously rejected the plea deals offered by the prosecuting attorneys that would have reduced their maximum sentences to just three years behind bars. Without the plea deal, their maximum sentences range from up to 40 years to life in federal prison.
Uncle Sam needs to leave these folks alone and go find some real criminal azzholes to apprehend (*cough* Chicago! *cough)). All they wanna do is puff a lil’ piff and ease their pain. SMH.
Image via Harvey Family