October 2015 ASA Activist Newsletter
October 19, 2015 | Talana Lattimer
The October 2015 issue of the ASA Activist Newsletter is finally out! Our monthly newsletter is your go to guide for the most up to date information on state and federal legislation, product safety, citizen advocacy and so much more!
Kettle Falls Patients Get Federal Prison Sentences
President Obama Urged to Pardon All Three Defendants and End Prosecutions
Federal prison sentences were handed down Oct. 2 for the three remaining defendants in the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington State. The case has received national attention as an example of federal interference with state-qualified medical cannabis patients, and lobbying by Larry Harvey, a defendant in the case who died last month from cancer, was instrumental in getting Congress to restrict Department of Justice enforcement in states with medical cannabis laws.
Larry Harvey’s widow, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, and her daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg were each sentenced to one year and a day. Rhonda’s son, Rolland Gregg, received a sentence of 33 months. All three were released pending appeal.
They were each charged with multiple federal felonies that carried stiff mandatory minimum sentences after a 2012 raid on the family’s personal cannabis garden in rural Washington State, even though there was no evidence of distribution and the garden was clearly marked as medical. The defendants were barred from raising a medical necessity defense, despite being qualified patients in Washington State. The jury acquitted them of all the government’s primary charges but found them guilty of “manufacturing” fewer than 100 plants.
“Federal prison time for patients who were participating in an established state medical cannabis program is an embarrassment to our judicial system and a violation of the restrictions Congress placed on the DOJ,” “We’re calling on President Obama to pardon all three defendants immediately.”
- ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer
New Bill Takes on Asset Seizures and Cannabis Eradication
A new bill in the House would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from using civil asset forfeitures to fund cannabis enforcement. In introducing HR 3518, the “Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act,” Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) noted the DEA spent $18 million on cutting down cannabis plants last year, resulting in 6,310 arrests.
California Regulations on Governor’s Desk
Nearly 20 years since California voters made medical cannabis legal, their state legislators have finally passed a trio of bills that would establish comprehensive regulation and licensing of commercial distribution. Governor Jerry Brown has until October 11 to sign or veto the bills. If he does nothing, they become law.
Maryland Opens Medical Cannabis Application Process
PFC Program Hosting Informational Event for Interested Companies
Maryland has begun accepting applications for operating medical cannabis businesses in the state, with a deadline of November 6. Separate licenses will be issued for cultivating, processing and dispensing medical cannabis. A maximum of 15 cultivation facilities and up to two dispensaries for each of the state’s 47 senate districts will be licensed. The number of processor licenses is yet to be determined.
Study Confirms Long-term Cannabis Use Is Safe
A study of patients using medical cannabis to control chronic pain has confirmed that prolonged use is safe. Researchers found that pain patients using medical cannabis were no more likely to suffer serious adverse events than non-cannabis patients.
National Medical Association Urges Rescheduling
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), one of the largest medical organizations in the United States, is calling for changing the federal classification of cannabis to a drug with medical uses.
ACTION ALERT: Sign the Pardon Petition for the Kettle Falls Five
Sign the petition today calling on President Obama to pardon the three Kettle falls Five defendants.
Take a minute now to sign the White House petition. SafeAccessNow.org/pardon_the_kettle_falls_five