Pubdate: Sun, 11 May 2014
Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2014 Orlando Sentinel
Author: Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy Washington Bureau
Page: A14


He Had Card From Doctor but Arrested in Marijuana Case

WASHINGTON - Larry Harvey, 70, found a remedy for his gout and chronic
knee pain.

"At night that thing just throbs," he said. "But my wife can make a
marijuana cookie, just a small one. And I'll eat it and in five
minutes, the pain is gone, man. I mean, the pain is gone."

Harvey stopped eating his cookies in August 2012, after federal
authorities raided his farm near Kettle Falls, Wash., seizing 44 pot
plants, his 2007 Saturn, his guns and $700 in cash.

With his trial set to begin Monday in Spokane, Wash., the retired
trucker and commercial fisherman faces at least 10 years in prison if

"That would be a life sentence for me," Harvey said Tuesday, munching
on a salad in a House office building cafeteria. "You might as well
take me out and execute me. The federal government is going to try to
put me in prison for growing my own medicine."

Medical marijuana advocates brought Harvey to Washington, D.C., last
week to make his case to members of Congress, saying it's time to
legalize the drug for the more than 1 million Americans who use
marijuana for medical reasons.

"I just want to make sure Congress knows what's happening so they can
fix the law," he said.

While Washington state allows marijuana for both medical and
recreational purposes, the state laws mean nothing in Harvey's case.
Congress has classified the drug as a Schedule I substance, meaning
it's deemed to have no medical value. Harvey won't be allowed to use
his ailments as a defense because of the federal prohibition.

"A lot of people in Washington don't believe this is happening, but
you can't deny it anymore - that the policy is completely out of whack
- - when you have him sitting in front of you," said Kari Boiter,
Washington state coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, a group
that's lobbying to change the federal law.

Harvey said he didn't believe in using pharmaceutical drugs,
dismissing them as chemicals. He said he avoided processed food in
favor of the vegetables from his garden. And he said he was a hunter,
providing venison, turkeys and grouse for the family. "We don't buy
hardly anything from the store," he said.

Harvey said the charges confused him because he had a medical
marijuana card from his doctor and never tried to hide his operations.
He said he didn't even smoke the pot, only consumed medicated cookies
that were confiscated from his freezer.

Harvey faces six felony charges linked to his marijuana operation. His
wife, son, daughter-in-law and a family friend also face charges.

"It has just ruined my life," Harvey said. "This last 18 months has
been hell."

Derek Franklin, the Washington state coordinator of the
anti-legalization group Project SAM, for Smart Approaches to
Marijuana, said Congress shouldn't approve medical marijuana, calling
it "sort of a gray-market recreational system" that would provide more
unregulated access.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt