Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Health

Terminal Cancer Patient Charged For Using Medical Marijuana

A judge Tuesday gave probation rather than a prison sentence to a dying Iowa man convicted of growing marijuana and using it to treat his terminal cancer.

Benton Mackenzie, 48, could have faced three or more years in prison, which he said would amount to a death sentence.

The case has outraged advocates for medical marijuana, who gathered before the sentencing at a park near the courthouse to criticize the prosecution.

“People shouldn’t have to go to jail for trying to treat themselves,” said 25-year-old Chris Davis of Rock Island, Illinois, a former employee of a medical marijuana dispensary in California.

Judge Henry Latham was also expected to sentence Mackenzie’s wife, 43-year-old Loretta Mackenzie, and their 23-year-old son, Cody Mackenzie, at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport.

All three were charged following a June 2013 raid at the Long Grove, Iowa, home where they live with Mackenzie’s parents, Dorothy and Charles Mackenzie. Sheriff’s deputies found 71 marijuana plants, growing equipment, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana in Cody’s room.

Mackenzie said he grew the plants to obtain cannabis oil that he used to treat his angiosarcoma, which causes skin lesions. He said the oil relieved his pain and helped to reduce the size of lesions.

At trial, Latham repeatedly barred Mackenzie from testifying about his cancer, noting that a medical necessity defense is not allowed in Iowa.

Jurors in July found Mackenzie and his wife guilty of manufacturing marijuana and related charges. Their son was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Medical marijuana is not legal in Iowa, although a new state law allows the most severe epilepsy patients to use cannabis oil for treatment. The law doesn’t apply to cancer patients and didn’t help Mackenzie. After the trial he traveled to get treatment in Oregon, one of 23 states that permits medical marijuana.

More than 16,600 people signed a petition urging the Scott County Attorney’s Office to drop the charges. Others have contacted Gov. Terry Branstad to urge a pardon. A Branstad spokesman said it would be premature to comment since the case is still pending.

Scott County Attorney Mike Walton has defended the prosecution, saying he is enforcing the state’s marijuana laws as written. He has noted that Benton Mackenzie has two prior felony drug convictions from 2000 and 2011, which makes him a “habitual offender.”

Walton’s office recently dropped charges of hosting a drug house against Dorothy and Charles Mackenzie, who are in their 70s, stemming from the raid.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

HT Newsletter

Subscribe for exclusive access to deals, free giveaways and more!

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Advertisement

You May Also Like

News

Ecuador's government recently passed legislation approving medical cannabis containing less than 1% THC.

News

Virtual visits promise to make the process of getting a medical marijuana card faster and more convenient.

News

Court watchers were quick to note that, while unanimous, the state Supreme Court’s ruling was still fairly narrow.

News

Those in safety-sensitive occupations would be exempt from the bill, which also does not allow for the use of cannabis while on the job.

News

The products have been recalled because they contain unspecified microbials, which were not processed correctly.

News

The new identification card system should also make editing information on the cards more efficient.

News

Senate Bill 305 would allow terminally ill patients in California to use medical cannabis in hospitals, while Senate Bill 34 would allow licensed dispensaries...

News

The project will be subsidized by a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is a branch of the National...

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!