By Steve Elliott
An Iowa man who had faced 15 years as a habitual offender and a mandatory three-year prison term for treating his cancer with cannabis oil has been sentenced to probation, as a district judge used his sentencing discretion.
Benton Mackenzie, 48, was charged along with his wife, Loretta, and son, Cody, reports Brian Wellner at Quad-City Times.
A jury found the Long Grove couple guilty of manufacturing marijuana, a Class C felony, at their trial this summer. District Judge Henry Latham barred Mackenzie from mentioning to jurors that he grew the marijuana to treat his cancer, or anything about his medical condition.
Mackenzie suffers from late stage angiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels in which tumors appear as skin lesions. Several lesions have grown from the size a pea a year ago to larger than a grapefruit now.
His backside and right leg are covered in lesions, and Mackenzie has had severe swelling recently. He was in the hospital on Sunday and has trouble walking due to the swelling, according to his wife.
Mackenzie said he grew marijuana at home until his arrest a year ago, treating his cancer with oil derived from the plant. The treatment kept the lesions small and prevented the cancer from spreading for two years, he said.