Since 2012, the federal government has attempted to imprison individuals from the state of Washington for growing marijuana illegally. However, the three defendants said their cannabis was purely for medical purposes, and thus permitted under state law. This week the feds admitted that their prosecution was illegal.
In 2012 the federal government initiated prosecution of what would become known as the Kettle Falls Five case. The prosecutors claimed the defendants were growing too much marijuana and that they had to be selling it for a profit. However, all of the defendants in the case had actually grown less cannabis than the limit established by Washington's medical marijuana laws. Despite the lack of evidence, the feds continued to push the case.
In December 2014, Congress passed a law that prohibited the Department of Justice from prosecuting marijuana cases if the activities were legal under state law. Lawyers for the Kettle Falls Five case said that this law should stop the prosecution, but the federal government continued their case. As a result, three of the defendants in the case have received sentences from one year to 33 months, and a fourth defendant has already finished serving his 16 month prison sentence. (A fifth defendant passed away during prosecution.)
Now the federal government is admitting their entire prosecution of the Kettle Falls Five case was illegal. Citing the 2014 law, they admitted that they were not allowed to use their funding to pursue the case.
"The United States concurs with the Attorneys for Appellants' statement of the issues presented as it relates to the Department of Justice not having congressional authorization to spend funds to prosecute the defendants based upon their strict compliance with the Washington State medical marijuana laws," the brief says. "For the purpose of the motion the United States accepts the statement of the case and the facts cited in support of the defendants' strict compliance of the Washington State medical marijuana laws which authorize them to grow 15 plants each for their own personal medical use. The United States submits that the legal authority and facts cited by Appellants on the above-stated issue clearly shows the United States was not authorized to spend money on the continued prosecution of the defendants after December 2014."
The defendants are preparing to file motions to dismiss the cases.
And somehow people still think the War on Drugs is legitimate.