Feds seek prison for rural Washington pot growers

first_imgSPOKANE — 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 pot to adults.But a federal trial scheduled to begin Monday for five people in Spokane suggests not all is OK with weed 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 pot 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 and in the same room as a blue plastic tub of pot. Medical marijuana advocates have cried foul, arguing the prosecution violates Department of Justice policies announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last year that nonviolent, small-time drug offenders shouldn’t face lengthy prison sentences. “This case is another glaring example of what’s wrong with the federal policy on cannabis,” said Kari Boiter, Washington state coordinator for the medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access.last_img

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