Terminal Cancer Patient in Iowa, Entire Family, Face Drug Charges Over His Medical Marijuana Use

targeted by copsScott County, IowaBenton Mackenzie is 47 and set to die, suffering from terminal angiosarcoma cancer. Mackenzie uses medical marijuana to manage his pain, including a cannabis oil for his skin lesions some doctors say make his experience worth studying for other patients. Mackenzie’s effort to alleviate his pain and improve the quality of his life, however, has put him in the crosshairs of Iowa law enforcement. The Quad-City Times reports on how it started:

Search warrants filed in Scott County District Court describe how sheriff’s deputy Dan Furlong, who began investigating Mackenzie’s drug activity in 2010, was determined to bring down a local conspiracy.

Furlong wrote that Mackenzie solicited a high school friend and convicted felon, Stephen Bloomer, to help him grow marijuana.

Deputies pulled Bloomer over in May and cited him for driving while barred. He drove a car registered to Mackenzie, Furlong wrote. Deputies also spotted Bloomer walking in the neighborhood of Mackenzie’s parents’ home at 27120 183rd Ave.

That was enough for Furlong to search Mackenzie’s trash cans, where he found marijuana stalks Mackenzie had stripped clean to make his medicine. Furlong used that evidence to obtain a search warrant.

“I woke up to a bunch of people screaming ‘search warrant!’” Mackenzie said. “They had me on the ground. They had my wife on the ground. They were throwing stuff around in my son’s room. I heard them trashing the house.”

Prosecutors charged Mackenzie, his wife, his adult son, and his septuagenarian parents, with whom Mackenzie and his family live. He spent 42 days in jail until prison officials had him released amid worry about how much his medical treatment might cost them while he was in custody.

An Iowa lawmaker introduced a bill at the beginning of the year that would legalize some use of medical marijuana. It failed by March. Iowa’s senior senator, Chuck Grassely, meanwhile, says science backs marijuana prohibition. Obviously, he has no idea what he’s talking about.

h/t Mark Johnson

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Grassley has no idea what he's talking about? I find that hard to believe.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    You'd think a guy with "grass" in his name would be a little more understanding.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Or the jokes growing up burned it out of him.

  • kinnath||

    I've met Chuckles the Clown. He is a fairly nice guy of average intellect. Early in his career, he focused his efforts on spending problems in Washington, and he was a guy that I wasn't embarrassed to be represented by.

    But he has grown into the worst by-product of a Big-Biz establishment Republican crossed with an aging social conservative.

    Yest even with all these problems, he is still a beacon of shining light compared to Tom Harkin (who is stepping down in 2014).

  • kinnath||

    so back to the nature versus nurture argument. How does anyone throw a dying man into prison for using weed?

    Does police work attract the worst possible sub-human beings? Or does it produce the worst possible sub-human beings.

  • tarran||

    It's both.

    Decent people, I suspect, are driven screaming from such a vile profession, while monsters are not only attracted to them, but have their appetites to do evil encouraged and whetted by their past experiences.

  • WTF||

    Is it wrong to wish that sheriff’s deputy Dan Furlong dies an agonizing death from angiosarcoma?

  • kinnath||

  • Andrew S.||

    Maybe an agonizing death would be a bit much. Better to wish a non-fatal, but extremely painful injury or ailment. One from which he cannot find relief from doctors.

  • kinnath||

    He deserves The Pain.

  • Matrix||

    marriage?

  • kinnath||

  • kinnath||

    fuck the threading. Was that to me or to Andrew?

  • Matrix||

    Andrew.

  • kinnath||

    OK

    Who would have guessed that a booze-filled weekend would lead to a semi-functional Monday.

  • General Butt Naked||

    My go to death wish disease is fatal familial insomnia.

    It, and the other prion diseases, are fucking nasty as hell.

  • np||

    Does police work attract the worst possible sub-human beings?

    You could ask the same for politicians. And the Senator. And the prosecutor. And various people who strongly support these laws.

    I think though, there are two different motivations. One is power, the other is Doing The Right Thing (tm).

  • kinnath||

    There is a difference between a politician that passes a law in willful ignorance of the consequences of that law on otherwise innocent people and the officer that expends significant effort to dig to find evidence of crime so that the officer can haul someone off to jail in spite of the obvious infirmities of the "criminal".

  • Raston Bot||

    There are true believers but we're past the point where they get a pass because of their well-intentioned convictions. So lump them together with the tuffgai pussies.

  • JW||

    Just when you think the drug warriors can't get any scummier...

  • Andrew S.||

    Just like there is no peak retard, there's no depths to which the drug warriors will not sink in their effort to control what people put into their own bodies.

  • CE||

    If I were them I'd be more worried about why my skin had turned green.

  • CatoTheElder||

    This kind of shit makes me wish for a permanent government shutdown.

    Government that does this sort of thing is worse than useless.

  • Belladonnacotton||

    Well if the warrant fits so be it. There had to be prior reasons and he had enough family to help him he didn't need a felon to assist him. He must have a care giver. This is a one sided story. See it from the Conservative law abiding side of things. There was something bad wrong going on here.

  • Agammamon||

    You sir, are a douche.

    He wasn't arrested because more than one person was helping him. He was arrested because he was illegally using marijuana to stay alive.

    I'm all for being law-abiding, but am more than sympathetic to people who break the law when abiding by it means a painful death.

  • Mike Parent||

    Grassley is clueless. Here's what the DEA said, then ignored. In 1988, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young wrote in his ruling
    "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of
    the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any
    measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a
    supervised routine of medical care."
    http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php

  • Agammamon||

    ". . .until prison officials had him released amid worry about how much his medical treatment might cost them while he was in custody."

    I mean really, why can't these sick people just go ahead and die quietly already.

    Instead they go around fighting for their lives, *forcing* the state to arrest them and state doesn't want to have to pick up the bill.

    I love the cold-hearted pragmatism of the state - we're not going to pay for any treatment for your disease and we'll kill you if *you* try to treat it yourself.

  • medicannabis1||

    Here is a video of hospice clients speaking about the need for safe access to medical cannabis therapy... To the law-enforcement officer who is a " cannabis warrior zealot" watch and hang your head in shame over the suffering you promote...You cannot hide behind the old statement" it's the law" when you know the law is corrupt and not worthy of support...Shame upon you!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4el6EGqcUw

  • Mr. Hyde||

    Self promoters have no need of shame. you see, it's all about them and what a righteous bust can do for a career.

    That fact that arresting a terminal cancer patient for growing a benign plant, that has never harmed anyone,
    will make you appear to be the complete asshole that you ,in reality, are would never cross that cops mind.

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