Many times on this blog, it has been emphasized that just because certain uses of marijuana are now legal in Washington State, a Spokane resident can still be accused of a federal crime with regard to the substance. Those who are suddenly faced with federal charges can benefit from retaining an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Earlier this year, a group of individuals known as the "Kettle Falls Five" found themselves facing federal drug charges after growing marijuana on a rural Washington property. Just recently, three of the five defendants in this case were sentenced to prison for committing a federal crime, despite the fact that both medical and recreational marijuana are legal by way of state law. All three defendants will face three years of probation as well as time behind bars. A 33-year-old man was sentenced to 33 months in prison, while his wife and mother were both sentenced to one year in prison.
As far as the other two defendants involved in the case, one has since passed away after being diagnosed with cancer last year. Another, a family friend, testified for the prosecution and received a shorter penalty of 16 months. In federal drug crimes cases, there are times when favorable plea deals may be struck with the advice of a defense attorney skilled in federal cases.
The case has been criticized from marijuana activists, who claim the prosecution doesn't make sense in a state where marijuana is legal. Still, that legality comes with many exceptions, including growing large amounts for profit. In this case, the prosecution has claimed that the defendants cultivated over 100 pounds of the plant, much more than would be needed had it been grown solely for the defendants' personal medical use. Back in March, a federal jury convicted the three defendants of growing marijuana, but did not convict on more serious charges such as distributing marijuana or conspiracy to distribute.
Source: Yakima Herald, "Marijuana growers sentenced to federal prison," Nicholas K. Geranios, Oct. 2, 2015