Features Mar 2, 2015 at 4:00 am

In Federal Court, There’s No Such Thing as Medical Marijuana—So a Rural Family of Medical Marijuana Patients Is Being Treated Like Drug Traffickers

One August morning in 2012, armed state and federal officers knocked on Rhonda Firestack-Harvey's door, rifled through her house, and yanked pot plants from the ground. Now she and her family are facing the prospect of many years in prison. Daniel Fishel


This is why we have jury nullification. More people need to be educated on this right.
You fail to offer any compelling reason not to believe that they are not drug traffickers and scheming cartel operators armed with guns to protect their cash crop. Also… You fail to mention if Rolland and Michelle Gregg, or Jason Zucker had medical authorization to use marijuana. So I’ll assume they did not. If the Feds fuck things up it’ll be over bullshit like this. They should have followed the rules and stuck to 45 plants for just the two of them. I bet they wouldn’t have the problems they do today if they had. They’re either stupid or guilty as charged. Lock em up!
It's pretty absurd that they literally cannot talk about why they have the pot plants. This case is like something from a Kafka novel.
@3 -- "All five of these people were authorized to use marijuana for medical purposes, and under state law, each of them was allowed to have 15 plants"
It can sometimes seem unfortunate but there are good reasons for not allowing legally irrelevant material into a trial. The role of a jury is to make findings of fact, not to pass moral judgment on the defendants. If the jury were allowed to consider information about their alleged medical use they might be tempted to find the defendant not guilty because they felt bad for them or disagreed with the law itself, rather than whether they were actually convinced that they had violated the law. You can just imagine the bad results that could occur if juries were allowed this type of extraneous information, imagine a jury in the South finding a defendant guilty because the person was a Muslim or gay. The real problem is with the law itself and that's where we have to seek change.
Just because federal law trumps state law does not indicate that it cannot acknowledge the existence of the state law on the books. That is like saying federal law is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying LALALAIMNOTLISTENING!
All of this sounds like the DEA brutalizing some unfortunates who mistakenly thought that state law would protect them, over a regressive 20th century moral law which most of us find preposterous if not sinister. UNTIL they mention the 28 pounds of buds that Zucker brought back to Seattle. That is a huge amount of pot, and that was merely his share. They were growing way more pot than anyone needs for a year, and it's not unreasonable to assume they were planning to sell some of it.
Why don't medical marijuana activists hold up signs around the courthouse? I'm pretty sure they would have the right to do that if they stayed on the sidewalk. Then the jury can be taught why this has more to do about medical marijuana and federal overreach.
it starts somewhere!!!! GIVE ME THE TIME AND PLACE!
@7 Jurors have every right to judge the law as well. While modern courts try and hide that fact, it is a big reason we have citizen juries in the first place.
Jurors should nullify this unjust law.
This why the DEA is despised world wide. bad karma to come.
@12 No they don't. You might be able to get away with jury nullification, but it's not the proper role of the jury. The jury is not the arbiter of what the law is, they are only supposed to determine what the facts are. The judge is the one who applies the law.
Learn how this works before you go off on the DEA: DEA only investigates. It's not their decision to take these people to court. They don't decide whether to prosecute. If you don't like these people getting prosecuted, save your ire for the U.S. Attorney's office, not the DEA. DEA investigates. US Attorney decides whether to prosecute.
If something like that ever happened to me, I would hire the best lawyer I could find and sue the Federal government big time. And I bet there's a lot of legal resources available who would do it pro bono just to protect the interests of the emerging legal industry. It would certainly force the issue but these are people with health issues, some of which are pretty serious. I hope this works out for the best, time to put down the War On Drugs mentality once and for all.
People wanted more Government, and they got it.
I do have sympathy for those involved, and I absolutely am outraged that medical marijuana users and growers, operating legally under state law, are being faced with federal charges and jail time, but.... I'm having a hard time believing that at least one of these people weren't selling on the side. I'm not sure this is the case that should be pointed to as an example of overreach. I don't know, just seems a little sketchy to be honest.
Plus, The Stranger has been really good at omitting things and generally giving us double-speak on many issues lately, so I'm not too surprised at the overall lack of substance in the story.
Federal officers who take weed from houses go home and smoke that weed. FACT

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