SPOKANE (AP) — The Justice Department has dropped its case against a 71-year-old man charged in a northeastern Washington marijuana bust because he was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Larry Harvey faced federal charges — as did his wife, two other relatives and a family friend — after they were caught two years ago growing about 70 pot plants on their rural, mountainous property near Kettle Falls. Harvey said he used the marijuana to ease pain from gout, but the government argued that the family’s operation did not comply with the state’s medical marijuana law, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
The government dropped its charges against Harvey on Wednesday, citing his serious illness, but the charges remain against the others. They could face trial as soon as next week.
“I’m thankful the charges against me have been dropped so that I can focus on my battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer,” Harvey said in a written statement issued Thursday by Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. “However, if the Department of Justice truly has concerns for my well-being, it will dismiss the case against my entire family. We have suffered long enough.”
He described his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, as his sole caregiver and said she has been cooking for him, making sure he takes his medicine, and using a tractor to do all of the upkeep on their land.