Kettle Falls marijuana trial postponed

SPOKANE — A medical marijuana trial in Spokane involving the so-called Kettle Falls Five has been postponed until next Feb. 23 after a new judge was appointed to the case.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle has been replaced by Judge Thomas O. Rice, who set the new trial date on Monday.

Larry Harvey, three of his relatives and a family friend each face mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10 years in prison after they were caught growing about 70 pot plants on their rural property near Kettle Falls.

Medical marijuana advocates say the trial violates federal policies announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last year that nonviolent, small-time drug offenders shouldn’t face lengthy prison sentences.

Both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal for use in Washington.

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