Benton Mackenzie, along with his wife, son, and parents, were arrested and charged with growing marijuana for personal use after police found marijuana plants in the family’s home. But Mackenzie insists that he grows the plants to ease the pain of his terminal illness.
“I feel like nobody really gives a damn, except my family,” Mackenzie said. “And now they’re in trouble for not kicking me to the street to die.”
Physicians confirm that Mackenzie will likely die from his condition. He was diagnosed with angiosarcoma and his tumors continue to grow. Angiosarcomas are tumors that develop from the blood or lymphatic vessels. People with multiple, advanced angiosarcomas may experience swelling and pain due to the tumors pressing on the muscles or nerves.
Police seized 71 marijuana plants in a raid of Mackenzie’s home. While in jail for 42 days, Mackenzie began to get painful lesions. Mackenzie said that he would normally use hemp oil from the marijuana plants he grew to help alleviate the pain. Eventually, he says, he was released because officials didn’t want to pay for his medical expenses.
“Wow, long couple of days! I am out on pretrial release, because they [don’t] want to spend the money for my medical expenses. Loretta L Mackenzie [wife] is still in jail on $5000 cash only bond, but we are fighting to get it reduced and or released like me. Will put more details tomorrow. Mentally and physically exhausted,” Mackenzie wrote on Facebook.
Medical marijuana is not legal in Iowa. However, in other states, marijuana is commonly used to reduce nausea, increase appetite, and ease pain associated with certain illnesses. Some conditions that marijuana is used to treat include multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and insomnia.
Mackenzie admits to having used drugs for recreational purposes in the past, but insists that the marijuana in his home was used solely for medical purposes. He intends to fight the charges.