Nathaniel Harshman, 20, was sentenced Friday to five years in federal prison for working at a large-scale marijuana growing operation in the Interior Alaska city of Fairbanks, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Harshman admitted to working on a 477-plant farm along Elliott Highway during the summer of 2011 but disputed allegations that he sold any of the harvest. Harshman also denied that he tended plants from a much larger, more-productive 2010 operation. He said that those claims were false and based on the word of a government informant.
District Court Judge Ralph Beistline said during sentencing that Harshman showed he had accepted responsibility for his crime, but added that the only appropriate way to challenge laws you don't believe in is by lobbying Congress, according to the News-Miner.
Due to federal sentencing guidelines, Harshman's involvement in a grow operation of more than 100 plants means that he could not be sentenced to fewer than five years in prison. The government's sentencing recommendation called for a sentence of about six years.
Harshman's father, Floyd Harshman, is in jail awaiting sentencing on charges related to the same grow operation.