Medical Marijuana Case Pits Federal Government Against State Law

Dylan Wohlenhaus, KHQ News Spokane

5 people in Kettle Falls are being accused of maintaining a drug operation and manufacturing marijuana after federal agents raided their home in 2013. The group calls themselves "The Kettle Falls 5" and they are set to go to trial in July in federal court in Spokane.

Larry and Rohnda Harvey, Michelle and Rolland Gregg and their friend Jason L. Zucker are all facing federal drug charges. KHQ spoke with Larry Harvey Tuesday in Colville. Harvey told KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus, "I don't want people to go through what we are going through. I mean we all voted for this, what the heck did we vote for? This should be legal in our state, as far as I'm concerned we were all legal."

Harvey spoke about the drug raid at his home after Washington voters passed Initiative 502, legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

All 5 people being charged were legally registered with the state of Washington as being medical patients. In Washington, medical patients are allowed to grow for personal use. Harvey says the 5 were well within the legal grow limits when federal drug agents raided his property in 2013. Despite several states passing medical marijuana laws and Washington and Colorado legalizing it outright, any amount of possession, sale or growth is illegal at a federal level.

Harvey says in the past year prosecutors have offered them plea agreements however, he says "we did nothing wrong as far as I'm concerned."

The group is working with Americans For Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana around the country.

The "Kettle Falls 5" will stand trial together in federal court on July 28th. Prosecutors have said they will not comment on the case because it is "ongoing."