Pubdate: Mon, 02 Mar 2015
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2015 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Trevor Hughes


SPOKANE - Federal prosecutors in Spokane are trying to convince a 
jury that a cancerstricken man and his family were illegally growing 
and distributing marijuana on their northeastern Washington property 
despite claims by the "Kettle Falls Five" that they were instead 
raising legal medical cannabis for their personal use.

The case against Larry Harvey's family has become a cause celebre 
among the marijuana community, which sees it as a disconnect between 
state and federal marijuana laws. Washington state last summer 
allowed legal recreational sales, although the raid on the Harvey 
home happened in August 2012. And Congress late last year effectively 
barred the Justice Department from interfering with states that have 
medical marijuana systems.

Legalization advocates say it is a case of misguided federal 
marijuana laws and overzealous prosecutors unable or unwilling to 
accept the reality that most Americans would prefer to see pot users 
left alone.

"Some federal law enforcement officials are addicted to punishing 
people for marijuana-related offenses, and in this case the 
prosecutors are going on quite a bender," said Robert Capecchi, with 
the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

Federal prosecutors argue the group's medical marijuana claims are 
just a cover. They say evidence shows the group had been growing far 
more marijuana than they admit and seized records they say show the 
group was paying people to process marijuana for illegal distribution.

The judge on Feb. 18 dismissed the charges against Harvey, 71, 
because he's suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer but allowed 
prosecutors to keep pressing their case against his wife, son and 

Family friend Jason Zucker on Tuesday agreed to a plea bargain, the 
details of which have been sealed.

The three remaining defendants face lengthy prison sentences in part 
because police seized several firearms after spotting the outdoor 
grow from a helicopter.

The trial is likely to last into next week.
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