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In an extreme example of the federal government’s War on Drugs, a group known as the “Kettle Falls Five” has been federally prosecuted for growing medical marijuana in rural Washington state. On March 3rd, a jury delivered a resounding rebuke to the federal government’s efforts, acquitting the remaining defendants on 4 out of 5 counts, and convicting the defendants only of the lesser-included charge. Attorney Phil Telfeyan, of Equal Justice Under Law, is handling the group’s sentencing (currently scheduled for June 10, 2015) and appeals. To date, Phil and his colleagues have worked on the Kettle Falls Five case entirely free of cost. They are now working with CrowdDefend, a new crowdfunding platform for the legal space, to fundraise for legal fees and trial costs associated with this on-going case. The campaign can be accessed here.
This landmark prosecution will have significant ramifications for the scope of the War on Drugs and has the potential to set important constitutional limits on the government’s efforts to imprison people without compelling justification. Additionally, this case will test the limits of Congress’s prohibition against the Department of Justice from spending any money on medical marijuana cases in states where it is legal.
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