The three defendants in the Kettle Falls case could face mandatory sentences of ten years in prison, if convicted

Steve Jackson, Northwest Public Radio

The case of a northeast Washington family accused of growing and selling marijuana has gone to the jury in a federal trial in Spokane.

The closing arguments in the case began Monday and continued briefly Tuesday morning. The judge sent the jury to the deliberation room shortly after 9 a.m.

The federal case is unusual in that it accused a family of producing and selling marijuana in Washington, where both medical marijuana and recreational pot are legal. The family claimed they were growing marijuana for medical purposes.

One family member with cancer had charges against him dropped. But the defense was not able to use the medical marijuana issue in the case.

Kari Boiter of the marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access said even so, members of the jury saw a protest Tuesday morning outside the courthouse that brought that issue to the forefront.

“And if you looked over there you could see these people with duct tape on their mouths clearly gagged," Boiter said. "And then the word 'truth', 'legal', or 'medical' on that tape. And there were members of the jury having a cigarette clearly watching as all of this was going down.”

The three defendants in the case could face mandatory sentences of ten years in prison, if convicted.