Three generations of an Iowa family face various levels of marijuana-related charges in the case of Benton Mackenzie.
Mackenzie, 48, suffers from terminal angiosarcoma – a cancer of the inner lining of blood cells that can strike any area of the body. He uses cannabis extracts to treat symptoms of the disease.
Last Wednesday, District Judge Henry Latham set a trial date of June 30 for the wheelchair-bound Mackenzie, charged in a conspiracy to grow cannabis with his wife Loretta Mackenzie and high school pal Stephen Bloomer.
Benton Mackenzie and his co-conspirators are accused of growing 71 pot plants in 2013 in the Long Grove home of Benton's parents, Charles and Dorothy Mackenzie, both 73. Benton and his family were living there at the time. The elder Mackenzies are charged with hosting a drug house.
Additionally, Benton's 22-year-old son Cody faces misdemeanor possession charges after officers found weed in his bedroom during the raid.
The entire Mackenzie Family appeared together in Scott County court on June 4.
Benton Mackenzie maintains he required that number of plants in order to sufficiently extract enough cannabis oil for his daily medication – including treatment of skin lesions. In May, a Scott County judge ruled Benton cannot use medical marijuana or his condition as a defense, as Iowa law doesn't allow it. Recently the state legalized CBD oil for treating epileptic seizures. However, that is the extent of Iowa's medical pot tolerance.
Both Benton and Loretta were previously convicted of growing medicinal cannabis in 2011 after pleading guilty, a decision the couple still regrets.