Benton Mackenzie lost his battle against angiosarcoma cancer Monday, and reportedly passed in his home, surrounded by family.
Mackenzie was the symbol of medical cannabis patient rights in Iowa following an unsettling drug bust. In May of 2013, Benton, his wife Loretta and their son Cody were all convicted for cultivating and manufacturing cannabis out of their home.
Benton had already been diagnosed with cancer at the time, and was a registered medical marijuana patient in Oregon. He was using the plants to make a concentrated oil that has been known to relieve and even reverse symptoms of some cancers for patients. He reported that it was significantly reducing his tumors, and was the only one of his treatment options that really helped him. It takes several plants to make the oil using this particular method, but law enforcement assumed the 71 plants would be used for distribution.
The Mackenzie trial made national news because he was not permitted to tell the jury that he had cancer, nor that the plants were to be used to make oil to treat the large, painful growths on his body. Benton and Loretta were given leniency and sentenced to three years probation. As a result of all the legal trouble, Mackenzie was not able to get back to Oregon for treatment until September of 2014. That was the last time he was well enough and able to travel to Oregon for treatment.
Mackenzie’s advocacy for medical marijuana patient rights in Iowa influenced the state to approve an unworkable cannabidiol (CBD) oil law that is now being scrutinized because it has yet to help a single patient gain access to medicine. Perhaps the state will be more open to allowing whole plant medical marijuana therapy options in the near future.
photo credit: qctimes