Man with Cancer Avoids Going to Prison for Growing Marijuana
If you knew you were dying, but had a chance to add years to your life, would you do it even if it meant you'd be breaking the law? 48-year old Brenton Mackenzie ignored the law by growing 71 marijuana plants inside of the trailer by his parent's house in eastern Iowa. Mackenzie and his wife were both found guilty of manufacturing marijuana after their home was raided in June 2013. Deputies found the 71 plants, drug paraphernalia, growing equipment, and a small amount of marijuana in their 23-year old son Cody's room.
Mackenzie argued that he knew he was breaking the law, but he did it because he needed to receive medical treatment for angiosarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that affects the blood vessels, causing significant skin lesions on his buttocks. He explained to the judge, “I have lasted seven years on a disease that takes people who don't get treated in two years. And people who go through traditional methods, they last three years. So basically, I have proven the decision I have made was the right one to save my life.”
Judge Henry Latham issued Mackenzie a three-year term of probation, rather than the potential 15-year sentence this type of case holds. The judge told Mackenzie, “You are a man with intelligence and passion. I hope you can put your efforts to a more constructive use than to continue to violate the laws of this state.” “Latham said that he was using his discretionto keep Mackenzie free so that he could receive medical treatment for angiosarcoma.”
Brenton never expected he'd leave the courtroom with just a probation term. He explained to reporters that he was preparing for a long prison sentence. He plans to ask his probation officer for the permission to travel to Oregon in order to resume treatment under that state's medical marijuana law. At the time, Oregon is the only state to allow out of state patients to enroll in their medical marijuana program.
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