Some of you may have heard the story of the “Kettle Falls Five” — five marijuana growers in Washington State that were busted for growing cannabis on their property in 2012. The remaining three defendants in that case have now received their federal prison sentences.
Rolland Gregg, Michelle Gregg and Rhonda Firestack-Harvey all received at least one year in federal prison (Rolland received 33 months) and three years of probation. Despite the fact the recreational marijuana has since been legalized in the state, growing is still illegal under federal law.
The “Kettle Falls Five” claimed that they were growing the cannabis for medical use, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office disagreed, saying the 50 to 100 plants found by authorities were way more than needed for personal use. In other words, they say the “Five” were selling.
Much like the recent story of Ricardo Varona in Florida, authorities found no evidence that the “Five” were selling other than what they found to be an excessive amount of plants.
In the end, none of that matters because they were clearly violating federal law by growing cannabis. The issue at hand is whether federal resources should be wasted in the first place by prosecuting some people growing weed on their own farmland. Isn’t there something else they could be working on? Some unsolved violent cases perhaps? We got all these cleared up, do we?
Of course the ultimate problem is federal law. That is what so many activists are working very hard to change. There have been some strides in Congress and in the minds of some officials, but cannabis remains illegal and officially considered to have no medicinal value by the U.S. government.
No matter what any state does, as long as federal law remains the same, there can be no true legalization. There will always be a chance of prison for simply growing cannabis.