Man with pancreatic cancer won’t face charges, but friend, family members not off hook Larry Harvey is seated in front of, from left, Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, Jason Zucker, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg outside the Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review files/AP)
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.”