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News about the legal Washington State industry & public concerns.

'Kettle Falls Five' Case in Trial, Now Only Three

The trial began Wednesday in federal court in Spokane for a group of people accused of growing marijuana near Kettle Falls in northeast Washington. The case is seen as a test of federal drug laws, in a state that has legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

In the case known as the Kettle Falls Five, there are now only three defendants. Charges were dropped (earlier this month) against 71 year old Larry Harvey, who has been diagnosed with stage five pancreatic cancer. Miller's family members are accused of growing marijuana, which they say was for medicinal purposes.

Charges have also been dropped against family friend Jason Zucker, who has agreed to a plea bargain.

Marijuana advocate Kris Hermes of the group Americans for Safe Access says in court Wednesday, testimony centered on the fact that law enforcement only confiscated a portion of the plants found on the family’s property.

Hermes: "The defendants argued that their 68 plants were in compliance with state law, but law enforcement made them, or cut down some plants themselves. They left 44 plats standing at the time of the first search, indicating that it was ok or acceptable to local law enforcement.”

Several days later the DEA came and cut down the remaining plants, and then charged the defendants with manufacturing a controlled substance. They have been charged with cultivating more than 100 plants, even though less were found. The feds says they had evidence that more plants had been grown over time at the residence.

The three remaining Kettle Falls defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in prison if convicted.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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