Terminal cancer patient faces mandatory prison time for marijuana charges

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Benton Mackenzie. From WQAD8.

QUAD CITIES — A man living near the Illinois-Iowa border who suffers from terminal cancer faces mandatory prison time for growing and using marijuana to treat his illness after he was found guilty of drug charges in Scott County Court, WQAD8 reports.

Benton and Loretta Mackenzie and their son, Cody, admitted to growing as many as 71 marijuana plants at his home in 2013. On Tuesday, he admitted the plants were his and he was found guilty of manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy, violation of the drug tax stamp and possession of drug paraphenila.

Mackenzie said he grew the plants to treat pain he suffers from terminal cancer. However, the judge in the trial said his reasons for growing the plants were not admissible as evidence.

The man was not allowed to mention his condition on the witness stand, WQAD reports. The judge said his cancer was “not relevant” to the facts of the case.

Mackenzie is currently in hospice care.

Mackenzie faces mandatory prison time for the conviction. Sentencing was reportedly set for August 28, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

Interestingly, an Iowa law took effect July 1, 2014, which allows cannabis oil for treatment of epileptic seizures only.

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    This is a case where the jury should have used 'jury nullification' to refuse to convict. If a jury finds the law itself to be unjust, they have a right to judge the law itself and to decline to issue a 'guilty' verdict. This is one way the average juror can fight back against unjust laws. Think about this the next time you are on a jury.

  • Dana M. Arvidson

    I grew up in Davenport and have to say I am VERY disgusted and disappointed in the the Judge;’s ruling here. Mr Mackenzie’s Cancer has great relevancy in this case.

    I have not read where the Mackenzie’s, sold or distributed this HERB to anyone else. Therefore it was solely for his medical care.

    This is a perfect example of why true Cannabis education and awareness of Jury Nullification are so vitally important. It is also a good example of why mandatory sentencing needs to be revisited. Even if the Judge had shown a modicum of cannabis education and compassion, Mr. Mackenzie would still be facing the same sentence, as it is mandatory.

    I do not believe our judicial system was intended to incarcerate chronic ill and dying persons, which is exactly what current Cannabis Prohibition accomplishes, among other things.

    The time has long passed that we should repeal Cannabis Prohibition. Truly the only dangerous component of Cannabis are, our laws.