U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice has vacated the convictions and dismissed the charges of the so-called Kettle Falls Five – a family of cannabis growers in eastern Washington state who were charged under federal law in 2013 for cultivating and distributing cannabis, according to a Stranger report.
Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, her husband Larry Harvey, Rhonda’s son Rolland Gregg, his wife Michelle, and Jason Zucker, a family friend were charged not only with the drug crimes but also for owning firearms “in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.” Zucker cut a deal with prosecutors and turned state’s witness; Larry’s charges were dropped as he battled pancreatic cancer. He died in August 2015. The remaining three were ruled guilty of growing cannabis but were acquitted on all other charges and would appeal the case, claiming that they were protected by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (then Rohrabacher-Farr) amendment since they were operating under the letter of Washington state law.
The feds admitted in October that they were “not authorized to spend money on prosecuting the defendants after December of 2014” and asked the court to dismiss the charges against the three, The Stranger reports. Thomas dismissed the charges yesterday but warned that the government could revisit the case if funding for federal cannabis enforcement is restored.
Rohrabacher-Farr was also responsible for blocking the federal prosecution of two California growers last August.