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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sunday Spin: How much pot will each of us be responsible for?

Washington state is counting on pot smokers for a lot of money. We figured out everyone’s joint quota.

Shawn Vestal: Pot peeks out of closet as revenue fills coffers

Less than a year after marijuana became available in stores, it is no exaggeration to say that it’s booming. Each new month brings increased sales and tax revenues. Marijuana bucks have already become a key element in state budget negotiations. Hundreds of licenses have been issued to retailers, growers and processors.

Kettle Falls Five dispute potential drug sentence

Federal prosecutors want three members of a family that grew medical marijuana on their property near Kettle Falls, Washington, to spend more than five years in prison. But the defendants, known in national headlines as the Kettle Falls Five, dispute almost all the facts the U.S. attorney’s office used in calculating that potential sentence and are asking the judge to simply impose probation. The disagreement sets up a showdown in a Spokane courtroom as early as next month that could have big implications on future prosecution of marijuana-related crimes nationwide.

State agency unveils weekly marijuana report website

OLYMPIA — Want to know how much legal marijuana was sold last month or grown this year? The Washington State Liquor Control Board has a site for you.

4 pot stores caught selling to minors in state sting

OLYMPIA — Four licensed marijuana stores in Western Washington sold pot to a minor working with the state agency on “compliance checks. The owners face a $2,500 fine and possible suspension. The seller could be charged by a local prosecutor.

Willie Nelson rolls out marijuana brand

Country music star Willie Nelson announced plans Monday to roll out his own brand of marijuana, capitalizing on his association with pot and the unofficial stoner holiday, 4/20.

Washington Senate OKs marijuana regulation changes

OLYMPIA – A major revision to the state’s marijuana laws, blending the medical and recreational systems and setting up a voluntary registry for adult patients, overwhelmingly passed the Senate on Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Jay Inslee. Changes to the two systems – the heavily regulated recreational pot and the largely unregulated medical marijuana – drew some of the largest and most vocal crowds as it worked its way through committee hearings over the last three months. Some patients said they would be afraid to register as a user of a drug that is still illegal under federal law. Others urged legislators not to disrupt their access to strains of marijuana that were successfully treating pain, epilepsy, cancer or post-traumatic stress disorder when pharmaceuticals have failed them.

Senate passes medical marijuana changes

OLYMPIA – A major revision to the state’s marijuana laws that blends the medical and recreational systems and sets up a voluntary registry for adult patients, overwhelmingly passed the Senate Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Jay Inslee.

House passes marijuana revisions

OLYMPIA — Medical marijuana patients would have to register with the state and pay taxes on the pot they buy from state-licensed stores under major rewrites of the state pot laws that passed the House Friday evening.

Firearms seizure sought in Spokane Valley case

Federal prosecutors are asking to confiscate ammunition and guns of a Spokane Valley man because they believe he uses marijuana. Authorities found hash oil, more than 1,300 rounds of ammunition and guns at the home of Burk Aaron Thomas when they were investigating a suspicious fire. Thomas is accused of plotting arson to collect insurance money on a failed marijuana business, according to court documents filed this week, but his case has not gone to trial.

WaLeg Day 71: Pot vending machines? Drive-thru sales? Research licenses?

OLYMPIA — Pot again provided legislators with plenty to talk about.

‘Kettle Falls Five’ outcome may mean changes for federal drug prosecutions

At least one interested onlooker at this week’s federal trial of self-proclaimed medical marijuana growers from Stevens County believes it’s unlikely federal prosecutors will pursue similar charges again. “My belief is, unless it’s an extremely unique factual case, we will not be seeing these types of cases in federal courts any longer,” said Roger Peven, who has defended federal criminal cases in the area for three decades and was once head of the Federal Defenders Office in Eastern Washington and Idaho.

‘Partial victory’ for remaining Kettle Falls Five, as jurors acquit family of most charges

In a courtroom that had been filled with whispers, soundless protests and spontaneous applause all week, the moments before jurors acquitted the three remaining members of the “Kettle Falls Five” of most of their charges were silent. When Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks asked that Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, her son Rolland Gregg and his wife, Michelle, be taken into custody, that silence was broken.

Federal jury acquits on 4 of 5 pot charges against Kettle Falls Five

A pot-growing Kettle Falls family was acquitted on four of the five federal charges against them tonight in a case that was seen as a barometer for how conflicts between state and federal drug laws will be handled.

Pot charges ‘overzealous,’ federal jury told during closing arguments

The fate of three people accused of growing and dealing marijuana out of their rural Stevens County home will soon be in the hands of a federal jury. Those 12 people may also decide the future of federal prosecutions targeting marijuana growers.

WALeg Day 50: Senate says no to pot drive-thru, vending machines

OLYMPIA — The Senate voted unanimously to ban marijuana sales in vending machines and at drive-through stands. But the argument for the bill involved situations that are already illegal.

At Kettle Falls Five trial, man says he smoked most of 30 pounds of pot he earned

The 39-year-old Seattle resident who was once part of the shrinking group of defendants in a federal trial targeting a marijuana grow near Colville said Friday he took an eleventh-hour plea deal to come clean about his involvement.

Senate passes medical marijuana changes

OLYMPIA — Major changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws passed the Senate today despite critics’ complaints about a database for patients.

Judge rejects ‘Kettle Falls Five’ marijuana defendants’ requests

A federal judge declined Thursday to throw out the criminal case against the marijuana farmers dubbed the “Kettle Falls Five,” setting up the likelihood of another trial delay two years after charges were filed. When it commences, it may be the trial of the Kettle Falls Four.

Marijuana growers, Kettle Falls Five, may be saved by funding bill

The complicated bill Congress passed to fund the federal government through 2015 may prove the saving grace of the Stevens County marijuana farmers dubbed the “Kettle Falls Five.” The U.S. attorney prosecuting the case says the five were violating Washington’s medical marijuana laws when drug enforcement agents seized 75 marijuana plants, guns and business records from the family’s property near Colville in August 2012.