SPOKANE, Wash. — The green-cross storefronts of medical marijuana dispensaries are common in much of Washington, and the state is plowing ahead with licensing people to grow and sell recreational marijuana to adults.
But an upcoming federal trial for five people in Spokane suggests that the issue of marijuana possession is not yet settled law in the state.
Larry Harvey, a 70-year-old medical marijuana patient with no criminal history, three of his relatives, and a family friend each face mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10 years in prison after they were caught growing about 70 marijuana plants on their rural, mountainous property.
The Harveys did have guns at their home, which is part of the reason for the lengthy possible prison time. They say the weapons were for hunting and protection, but prosecutors say two of the guns were loaded.
Medical marijuana advocates have cried foul, arguing that the prosecution violates Department of Justice policies announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last year that nonviolent, small-time drug offenders should not face lengthy prison sentences.