The case has drawn wide attention in a state where the recreational use of pot is legal, and it has outraged medical marijuana advocates because the defendants face at least 10 years in prison. Harvey had no criminal history, but there were guns in the home, which is part of the reason for the possible long prison term. The family says the weapons were for hunting and protection, but prosecutors say two of the guns were loaded and in the same room as a blue plastic tub of pot.
The DOJ has said since 2009 that prosecuting marijuana patients isn’t a priority. It’s allowing states to regulate marijuana for recreational or medical use, but it has reserved the right to target operations that don’t follow state law or have ties to organized crime.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice declined early this month to dismiss the charges against the defendants. Defense attorneys argued that Congress recently banned federal funds from being used to prevent states from implementing their own laws on medical marijuana, but the judge said prosecutors had offered evidence the family was running a for-profit pot business.