In Surprise Move, Justice Dept. Stands Down on ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Case

Posted by Danielle Raymond on

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an unusual motion yesterday to stay a notorious federal medical marijuana case in northeastern Washington state, which it has vigorously prosecuted since 2012. After pursuing the case for five years, Justice Department officials yesterday acknowledged that they were prohibited by law from spending money to prosecute the case after Congress passed the Rohrabacher-Farr budget amendment in 2014.

Justice Dept. officials acknowledged that federal law prevented them from pursuing the case after 2014. Joseph H. Harrington, acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, filed the motion to stay the appeal of convictions against a family of medical marijuana patients who became widely known as the “Kettle Falls Five.”

Three family members with a medical marijuana garden near Kettle Falls, Washington—Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, her son Rolland Gregg, and his wife Michelle Gregg—were acquitted on almost all federal charges in a March 2015 jury trial, but each was convicted of a single federal charge of cannabis cultivation.

Roland Gregg was sentenced to 33 months in prison, while Firestack-Harvey and Michelle Gregg were sentenced to a year and a day each. Another defendant, Jason Zucker, accepted a plea bargain that included testifying against his co-defendants. He received a 16 month prison sentence. The fifth defendant, Firestack-Harvey’s husband Larry Harvey, who was dismissed from the case after prosecutors discovered he was suffering from terminal cancer, died in August 2015.

 

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