THE FIGHT OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWS HAS LANDED
5 PEOPLE FROM KETTLE FALLS FACE UP TO 40 YEARS IN
PRISON, ANOTHER FACES LIFE, FOR SOMETHING THEY SAY
IS LEGAL IN WASHINGTON.
KXLY4'S IAN CULL WAS THE ONLY T-V REPORTER INSIDE
THE FEDERAL COURTROOM.
IAN, WHAT ARE THE ARGUMENTS ON EACH SIDE?
THESE PEOPLE WERE ALLEGEDLY GROWING MARIJUANA FOR
THEMSELVES FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES.
IT'S SOMETHING THE STATE HAS TURNED A BLIND EYE TO.
BUT TODAY, ONE FEDERAL PROSECUTOR SAID YOU CAN BE
ARRESTED FOR GROWING JUST ONE PLANT IN THE STATE.
EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A MEDICAL CASE, FOR PERSONAL PURPOSES,
IT COULD MEAN MORE PROSECUTION IS TO COME FOR PEOPLE
GROWING FOR THE RECREATIONAL MARKET AS WELL.
THE CASE STARTED WHEN FEDERAL AGENTS RAIDED THE HOME
OF LARRY AND RHONDA HARVEY IN KETTLE FALLS IN 2012.
INSIDE -- THEY FOUND MARIJUANA PLANTS -- SIMILAR TO
THESE ONES -- AND A GUN.
("We were growing a few pot plants up there just for
our own consumption and along comes the law.")
LARRY HARVEY SAYS HE GREW THE PLANTS FOR SEVERE PAIN
-- AND THEY HELPED HIM.
BUT NOW HARVEY AND HIS WIFE -- HIS STEPSON AND HIS
WIFE -- AS WELL AS A FAMILY FRIEND ARE FACING FIVE
FEDERAL MARIJUANA RELATED CHARGES -- AND A WEAPONS
EACH HAD A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD FROM A DOCTOR.
("We thought we were legal, as far as the state is
concerned we were legal. But the federal, we didn't
understand that at all.")
IN WASHINGTON, MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS SOMETIMES
GROW THEIR OWN MARIJUANA.
IF THEY'RE CAUGHT, THEY HAVE A DEFENSE IN COURT --
THAT THE PLANTS ARE FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES.
LATELY, THE COURTS HAVE SIDED WITH THE DEFENDANT.
HOWEVER, THIS CASE IS IN FEDERAL COURT -- AND THE
FEDS SAY MARIJUANA IS STILL ILLEGAL.
IT'S WHY NATIONAL NON-PROFITS LIKE AMERICANS FOR SAFE
ACCESS -- THAT FOCUSES ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA POLICY
-- ARE STEPPING IN TO HELP.
("There was no sales here, there was no store fronts,
there was no for-profit enterprise happening.")
DEFENSE LAWYERS ALSO POINT TO A MEMO FROM THE U-S
ATTORNEY GENERAL LAST YEAR -- ASKING FEDERAL AGENTS
TO FOCUS THEIR EFFORTS ON DRUG TRAFFICKERS, AND NOT
THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA COMMUNITY
("I'm here just to make sure people really know that
the federal government is doing the exact opposite
of what say. They say they are not prosecuting individual
patients and the reality here we can see is that they
PROSECUTORS DENIED OUR REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW --
SAYING THEY CAN'T COMMENT ON ONGOING CASES.
THE HEARING WILL CONTINUE TOMORROW, THE TRIAL IS SET
FOR NEXT MONTH.
IAN CULL, KXLY 4 NEWS.