Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WW: Kettle Fall Five (Three?) verdict, God wants legal pot in Texas

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The big pot news this week was the verdict in the Kettle Falls Five (now Kettle Falls Three) case. The case was viewed as a barometer of how far the feds could and would go in prosecuting people for pot-related activities sanctioned at the state level but illegal at the federal level. It turned out that federal law enforcement would go pretty far, but not as far as they would have liked.

The case involves an Eastern Washington family that was busted on federal pot charges for growing medical marijuana. Although medical marijuana is legal in Washington state, and it became legal for recreational purposes since their initial arrest, U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby pursued federal charges against the family related to firearms and criminal conspiracy, as well as growing and distributing marijuana.

Although Congress passed legislation intended to defund federal law enforcement activities that “interfered” with state pot laws, the judge allowed the case to proceed anyways. Larry Harvey, faced with terminal illness, saw his charges dropped, and Jason Zucker, a friend of the family who was facing a potentially stiffer sentence because of prior pot convictions, took a plea deal.

According to to the Spokesman-Review, the jury gave the defendants a partial victory, dropping all the charges except for manufacturing. The prosecution unsuccessfully asked the judge to have the defendants arrested and jailed. Sentencing is in June, the paper reports.

"The jury saw through the deceit of the federal government and rightly acquitted on almost all charges," said Kris Hermes, spokesperson with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, in a prepared statement. "This should signal to the Department of Justice that prosecutions such as the Kettle Falls Five are a waste of time and money and, if anything, should be left to state courts." Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, the government exercised its prosecutorial discretion to exclude all evidence from trial related to medical necessity and compliance with state law.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

A man in Washington D.C., which recently (sort of) legalized marijuana, walked into a police station and asked for his stash back.

Six in 10 young Republicans favor legalizing weed, according to a new poll.

According to a guest on Fox News, “crack babies” come from women “smoking this whole marijuana business.”

Texas lawmaker: “God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix.”

Shootings in New York City have increased, in part, because of legalized pot, according to the city’s police commissioner.

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