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IA Cancer Patient Who Grew Marijuana Convicted

DAVENPORT, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - In a case that has garnered national attention and a lot of focus in the medical marijuana community, 48-year old Benton Mackenzie of Scott County faces jail time for growing what he calls medicine to treat his cancer.

He was given just two years to live -three tops- when diagnosed with angiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels that does not respond well to chemotherapy. Mackenzie had been using cannabis to
treat his symptoms which include lesions on his skin. "The more I treat myself with cannabis the more healthy I become and the more resilient I become," said Mackenzie.

Mackenzie also says that to avoid costly trips to other states to obtain cannabis oil, he grew his own CBD strain of marijuana and managed to keep his cancer at stage one. It changed his mother's mind.
"I was dead set against it," said Dottie Mackenzie. "I believed all the hype and stuff of marijuana being so bad and then he showed me what it was doing."

But in 2010, police raided Mackenzie's home, seized seventy plants and threw him, his wife and son in jail. "It infuriates me more than just going through this alone which I can do.  Watching my family
go through this, in my opinion, is worse than going through cancer."

With marijuana, Mackenzie's symptoms stabilized. But within forty days without it, his cancer quickly progressed to stage four. 

During the family's seven day trial they faced charges of manufacturing a controlled substance and were prohibited from using a medical marijuana defense. That's despite the fact that once Mackenzie was released
from jail, authorities allowed him to travel to other states to get and use cannabis oil to treat his cancer.

Jurors today convicted both Benton and Loretta Mackenzie of manufacturing a controlled substance and several other related drug charges. They also found their son guilty of possession charges. And although Benton Mackenzie has two other drug felonies on his record, he is angry with the system. "I'm deeply concerned, uh. My whole family is in this position just for not deserting me while I'm dying, and this is how they're repaid for their compassion."

Sentencing for all three members of the Mackenzie family is scheduled for August 28.

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