Five people involved in a medical marijuana case in Washington state, where recreational use of the drug is legal, must stand trial, a judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice said a measure approved by Congress to end federal prosecutions of medical marijuana patients does not apply in this case.
Four family members and a friend say they grew marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to U.S. News & World Report. If they are convicted on all charges, they each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The five defendants were arrested after a raid in August 2012, several months before Washington voters approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1998. All of the defendants had qualifying conditions to use and grow marijuana. Federal prosecutors say the amount of marijuana they were growing exceeded the amount they needed, and accused them of drug trafficking.