Charges Against the Kettle Falls Five May Soon Be Dropped

Charges Against the Kettle Falls Five May Soon Be Dropped

Flickr / Allen Allen / CC BY 2.0

After years of court battles, the charges against the Kettle Falls Five may soon be dropped. On Oct. 16, 2017, the United States Department of Justice filed a motion to stay the case against the Kettle Falls Five, admitting that federal prosecutors did not have the authority to try the group, as reported by KXLY.

In 2012, federal authorities raided the home of Rhonda Firestack-Harvey and Larry Harvey and found dozens of marijuana plants and several firearms.

Although the marijuana in question was being grown for medicinal purposes, and was authorized by the state of Washington, federal authorities nonetheless arrested Firestack-Harvey and her husband, along with their son Rolland Gregg, his wife Michelle Gregg and family friend Jason Zucker.

The case eventually went to trial in 2015 and even though most of the more serious charges were dropped, Firestack-Harvey and the Greggs were convicted of growing fewer than 100 marijuana plants while Zucker accepted a plea deal. The charges against Larry Harvey were dropped due to his failing health, and in 2015 he passed away.

The motion to stay the case is the result of more than two years worth of effort on behalf of the group’s attorney who argued that the case should have never gone to court because the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, which was passed in 2014, bars the government from using federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

By the federal government’s own admission that prosecutors did not have the authority to try the case in 2015, the group’s defense team believes that it has a strong case to have the group’s convictions thrown out, although the department has requested that the Kettle Falls Five case go back to District Court. Despite the positive development, Firestack-Harvey told KXLY that the news was still hard to take.

“Ultimately, I had a really rough day yesterday, because the news is good. But Larry isn’t here. And you know, this really killed him, hanging over him. Even though he had cancer, I think he went faster,” Firestack-Harvey said.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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