Three people were found guilty Tuesday of growing marijuana, but they also were exonerated of more serious charges in a widely-watched federal drug case in a state where medical and recreational marijuana is legal. The three remaining defendants of the so-called Kettle Falls Five were all found guilty of growing marijuana. But a jury found them not guilty of distributing marijuana, conspiracy to distribute and firearms charges that carried long prison sentences. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice set sentencing for June 10. The defendants were Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, her son Rolland Gregg and his wife, Michelle Gregg. Larry Harvey, 71, was recently dismissed from the case after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in December. Jason Zucker, a family friend and former defendant, cut a plea deal last week to serve just sixteen months in prison for his testimony for the prosecution, just before the trial started.
Utah is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana. The medical cannabis bill was sent through to a third Senate reading Tuesday night by a narrow 16-13 vote. The bill reading generated some heated debate on both sides. The bill would allow for people in Utah with qualifying illnesses to be able to use medical cannabis in edible or liquid form, and establish licensed dispensaries to sell it. Senators in favor say they reached their decision based on research, hearing input from their constituents, and some shared personal stories and experiences involving medical cannabis. Those opposed to the bill called into question the process of how this bill has moved through the Legislature, whether anyone has had enough time to fully understand the ramifications should the bill pass, and the impact in the other states with similar medical marijuana bills. SB 259 will now go before the Senate for a third reading.
A state senator has filed legislation that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Georgia. The bill along with a constitutional amendment by Democratic Sen. Curt Thompson would allow retailers to sell no more than 2 ounces of marijuana to anyone 21 years and older. “It would set up a system of recreational marijuana that would include the medicinal… so that there would be one format that would address everything,” he says. An excise tax charged on the sale would be divided between education and transportation. Taxes would not be charged on marijuana for medical purposes. The constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority to pass in both the House and Senate before it could go to the voters. Thompson realizes it may be a long shot this year, but says he wouldn’t have proposed it if he didn’t think it could happen.
A Washington DC man may have been the first to get his marijuana back from the cops Monday night. It happened at the Sixth District police station in Northeast DC. There was a community meeting of the Fort Dupont Civic Association going on, and some folks were a bit taken aback by what just a few days earlier would have been unthinkable. Council Member Yvette Alexander’s aide said the man came in and demanded of the cops, “You have my marijuana, you have my weed.'” He had been arrested last week on a charge unrelated to drugs. Police took his property — belt, money, wallet, keys — and in this case, marijuana. When he was freed from jail, he returned for his personal possessions. “This property was less than two ounces of marijuana, and was returned to the arrestee with the other property held at the time of his arrest,” said Gwendolyn Crump, the D.C. police department’s chief spokeswoman.
Those wanting to grow medical marijuana outdoors in unincorporated Tehama County, California, received a one-year reprieve from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday — provided they bring their garden into compliance with 2014’s rules, including registration with the county, by April 1. After that, outdoor grows will be banned under an emergency ordinance the board passed 4-1 Tuesday afternoon. Supervisor Bob Williams said the county has twice tried to work with medical marijuana growers, who said they’d police themselves to stay in compliance. “What we found with that was abuse,” he said. Some implored the board to pass the ordinance to protect land and cattle. Ranchers have lost cattle to growers’ dogs, faced dangers for their workers and worried about water theft and pollution, said Steve McCarthy, president of the Tehama County Cattlemen’s Association, which supports the ordinance. Others asked the supervisors to reject the ordinance in part because of the additional costs on patients.