The lawyer representing the Kettle Falls Five, an Eastern Washington family facing federal charges for growing medical marijuana, has filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The motion filed January 15 in U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington by Robert Fischer argues that a congressional spending bill, signed into law by the president, makes it clear that federal money should not be used to pursue cases against individuals who possess or grow pot under their state’s medical marijuana programs.
The case involves Larry Harvey
, a man in his 70s who used medical pot to treat gout, and his family who were raided in 2013 by federal agents for growing medical marijuana on their property. The family was charged with growing and distributing marijuana under federal law, and they could each face 10 years in prison if convicted.
Their situation highlights an ongoing conflict between the 23 states that have medical marijuana laws and the federal government, which does not recognize the illicit drug as having any sort of legitimate use.
Late last year, Congress passed a spending bill that contained a bipartisan amendment that cut off funding for the U.S. Department of Justice
for activities that would prevent these states from “implementing” their laws. There is some concern that the wording of the legislation is sufficiently vague to allow the feds to continue to pursue medical marijuana growers and patients, but the motion argues that the legislative intent of Congress is clear:
“[T]he basic premise that ‘medical marijuana’ has no currently accepted medical use at all, is now in conflict with congressional intent in passing the Act, as shown from the record of the floor debates providing reasons for the passage of the Act.
Motion to Dismiss