Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jan 2015
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press


DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa man who was convicted late 
last year of growing marijuana that he used to treat his rare form of 
cancer has died.

Benton Mackenzie, 49, died Monday at his home in Long Grove, near 
Davenport, his mother Dottie Mackenzie confirmed.

He had been growing marijuana to create cannabis oil that he consumed 
and applied to tumors caused by his angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of 
the blood vessels that he was diagnosed with seven years ago.

Mr. Mackenzie said his self-treatment from the oil had prolonged his 
life and made some of the skin lesions disappear. Little research has 
been conducted on the effect of cannabis oil on this form of cancer, 
though doctors don't discredit Mr. Mackenzie's claims. But Iowa only 
allows medical marijuana to be used to treat intractable epilepsy, 
meaning further research of the drug's benefits is obstructed in the state.

"He didn't ask for this fight," Dottie Mackenzie said. "It came to him."

Benton Mackenzie and his wife, Loretta Mackenzie, were charged with 
conspiring to grow marijuana after a June 2013 raid of their home in 
which authorities found 71 marijuana plants, growing equipment and 
drug paraphernalia. Their son, Cody Mackenzie, was charged and 
convicted of drug possession when police found a small amount of 
marijuana in his room.

Benton Mackenzie was sentenced last September to three years of 
probation, and his wife and son also received probation.

Following his sentence, Benton Mackenzie was warned to spend the 
remainder of his life marijuana-free, to meet the terms of his 
probation and avoid being sent to prison.

The Quad-City Times reported that Mr. Mackenzie's parents faced 
misdemeanor charges in the case of hosting a drug house, but the 
charges were eventually dropped. Dottie Mackenzie told the paper that 
she's hoping her daughter-in-law and grandson will also be shown 
leniency as they move forward with appeals.

Dottie MacKenzie said she's found peace with the situation and her 
son's death. She said she won't actively advocate for looser medical 
marijuana laws in Iowa moving forward, but she hopes his case will 
serve as an example.

"He's proof that it works," she said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom