Federal Judge Says No To Washington Family’s Medical Marijuana Defense

A federal judge won’t allow a family of a medical marijuana patients from Washington state to defend themselves against drug trafficking charges by arguing their pot plants were for medical purposes.

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle of the Eastern District of Washington on Tuesday rejected the planned medical marijuana defense of Larry Harvey, 70, his wife Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, and three others facing trial next week, saying they could not argue that growing marijuana was for medical purposes and legal under Washington state law.

“The intent of the defendants is not relevant to the issues,” Van Sickle said. “There’s this concept of reliance on state law and the like. That’s not relevant either.”

Because the federal government considers marijuana illegal, federal courts generally don’t allow evidence that the drug may have been used for medical purposes, even when medical marijuana is legal under a state’s law, as it is in Washington. The Harveys, their son, Rolland Gregg, 33; Gregg’s wife Michelle, 35; and family friend Jason Zucker, 38, sought to describe their doctor-recommended medical marijuana cultivation at their upcoming trial on federal drug charges.

“You can tell a portion of the truth, just a bit of the truth and only the truth they want you to tell,” said Kari Boiter, the Washington state coordinator for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, who accompanied Larry Harvey at Tuesday’s hearing. “Forget ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,'” Boiter added.

– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.