Pictured is a group of defendants accused by federal prosecutors of growing marijuana in rural Washington state. Shown here from back left: Rhonda Lee Firestack-Harvey, Jason Zucker, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg stand with Larry Harvey outside the Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. (Dan Pelle, The Spokesman-Review)

Man sentenced in widely-watched federal medical marijuana case

In the federal case, the defendants, who grew pot in rural Washington state, had said they believed they were following state law for medical marijuana

SPOKANE, Wash. — The only member of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” group of marijuana growers to plead guilty has received a 16-month sentence, but will remain out of custody pending an appeal.

The Spokesman-Review reports that U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice did not accept Jason Zucker’s explanation that the plants he and others grew on property in northeastern Washington state were for medicinal purposes.

The federal case was widely watched because medical and recreational marijuana is legal under state law in Washington.

Zucker was sentenced Friday. At trial in March, Zucker testified for the federal government against Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg, saying he brought more than 70 plants from his home in Seattle to the Harvey property in 2011 and 2012.

Firestack-Harvey and the Greggs are scheduled to be sentenced later. The defendants had said they had medical marijuana cards and believed they were operating under the allowances of state law.