The Kettle Falls Five case sent shockwaves through the medical cannabis world when a family with state-sanctioned medical marijuana grow authorizations in the state of Washington were raided, arrested and eventually convicted under federal law which still sees cannabis as an illegal Schedule 1 drug. The five family members, Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, Michelle Gregg, Roland Gregg, Larry Harvey, and Jason Zucker were charged with growing and possessing more than fifty but less than one hundred cannabis plants.

How We Got Here

The landmark Kettle Falls Five case made headlines as one of the clearest examples of the federal government going against the will and law of a medical cannabis state. Yesterday, in what was an unexpected move, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice form Spokane overturned the convictions and dismissed all charges made against Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey as well as both Michelle and Roland Gregg. Larry Harvey sadly passed away due to cancer before the trial and Jason Zucker accepted a plea bargain.

Why Charges Were Dropped

According to the Spokesman-Review, federal prosecutors asked for the case to be dismissed, finally putting an end to a case that has struck at the hearts of many medical marijuana businesses, farmers, and patients who like the Kettle Falls Five strive to adhere to state cannabis laws only to have to continuously look over their shoulders in fear of federal government intervention.

The Kettle Falls Five Case Is Significant In Many Ways

This case still garners attention and significance even six years after it began, thanks in large part to a renewed federal crackdown on medical marijuana states. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that protects medical marijuana states and their patients from federal prosecution. Today, Sessions repealed the Cole Memo which blocks federal dollars from helping raids and prosecutions in medical marijuana states.

President Donald Trump has also been vague about what his policies on medical marijuana will look like or whether or not his administration will even address the issue directly at all. If the federal government were to push for more prosecution in medical marijuana states, then many more Kettle Falls Five cases will occur and outrage against the federal prohibition of marijuana will continue to grow

The news about the dismissal of charges against three of the Kettle Falls Five is encouraging but the case itself is the clearest example of the disconnect between states and the federal government when it comes to medical marijuana policy. There is hope that the overturning of convictions in the Kettle Falls Five case is the end of federal intervention in legal medical cannabis states.


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