Benton Mackenzie has been found guilty. Sentencing is August 28th.
The Governor, the Supreme Court, OR the Legislature can step in and save this man’s life at any time.
Here’s an attempt at explaining what has happened thus far:
2005: Iowa Supreme Court denies medical necessity defense in Bonjour v. Iowa, 694 N.W.2d 511 (Iowa 2005).
2009: Benton notices bumps on his hip, thinks it could be cancer. Family doctor says could be a calcium deposit.
— See this 2009 High Times article “Medical Marijuana: A Note of Caution” from Dr. Lester Grinspoon warning of the lack of proof of cannabis curing cancer. “We must be very cautious about what we promise these patients.”
— Iowa Board of Pharmacy holds hearings around the state of Iowa to receive public input on medical cannabis in fall 2009. See transcripts here.
Early 2010: Benton returns to doctor. Doc gives ultrasound, bump on hip shows up again, doc maintains it’s a calcium deposit. Benton discovers “Run From The Cure” on YouTube by Rick Simpson:
After watching the video, Benton begins making cannabis oil and applying it both topically and orally (ingesting the oil).
February 17,2010: Iowa Board of Pharmacy unanimously recommends legalization of medical cannabis. See press release here.
— Iowa lawmakers dropped the issue and said the Board could solve the problems.
–Former Representative Kevin McCarthy tells KCCI Iowa law “pretty much already allows it.”
November 2010: Scott County’s Detective Dan Furlong knocks on Mackenzie’s apartment door saying he smells marijuana. Benton and Loretta consent to allow Detective Furlong to enter. One live cannabis plant is taken, along with a couple jars of dried material that Benton was using to make more oil with.
December 1st, 2010: Detective Furlong calls and asks for Loretta, Benton, and son Cody to meet for questioning. Each are interviewed individually.
December 2nd, 2010: Mackenzies are arrested in the morning.
December 3rd, 2010: Loretta and Cody released after video court, Benton held on $15,000 bond. Mackenzies manage to bail Benton out of jail. Mackenzies evicted from apartment. Some time before Christmas, Channel 4 News from Rock Island, calls for an interview.
January 2nd, 2011: Mackenzies move into Benton’s parents home. According to Loretta, neighbors complain of increased police presence, and Mackenzies feel intimidated.
March 2011: Dr. Kumar of Bettendorf performs a punch biopsy in his office and calls a few days later with positive results for cancer of unknown type. Refers Benton for further examination at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Oncology department and Dr. Mohammed Milhem.
This is where the timeline gets hazy.
Sometime between March 2011 and 2012, Benton and Loretta waived their speedy trial rights, against the advice of their attorneys. The Mackenzies fired multiple attorneys, hinting at ineffective assistance of council in an email to WeedPress. Apparently their doctor advised Benton receive chemotherapy, but he refused.
Sometime during 2012, Benton decides to start growing more cannabis plants at his parents house in an RV in the backyard.
June 2013: Mackenzies are about to harvest plants. “Plants are coming to flowering stage and soon ready for harvest. This will be the largest amount of plant material Benton has ever had for making cannabis oil. He is expecting enough to actually apply the 3 gram per day dose recommended by Rick Simpson for seasoned patients. He is expecting to wipe out his cancer completely and go public with his finding: A cure for angiosarcoma cancer!”
Friday, June 21st, 2013: SWAT team raids Mackenzie house at 5:45 am. Loretta, Cody, and Benton taken to jail, and bond posted by Benton’s parents.
July 11th, 2013: Benton and Loretta are again arrested, this time on warrants from their probation officers. Booked into jail and bond set at $5,000 each. They would spend the next two months in jail, unable to afford any more bail money.
November 6th, 2013: Iowa Board of Pharmacy declines request for waiver from Benton Mackenzie. No statute authorizes Board involvement, according to the Board.
November 10th, 2013: Benton interviewed on Carl’s Cannabis Corner.
May 8th through the 13th: Benton allowed to go to Oregon for cannabis oil treatments. He is allowed a total of three trips to Oregon to use cannabis oil while he faces charges in Iowa for using cannabis oil.
–See Convicted Iowa Pot Growers Head to Oregon in yesterday’s Quad City Times
June 6th, 2014: Des Moines Register Editorial Board weighs in on Mackenzie case.
— “The change in law benefits only a small group of Iowans with the most organized lobbying efforts. Other sick Iowans should have legal access to marijuana extracts, too.”
July 7th, 2014: Benton Mackenzie’s court hearing is postponed as he is rushed to the hospital unable to stand trial.
July 8th, 2014: Trial resumes. Brian Wellner tweets lives updates for the Quad City Times.
— See Quad City Times coverage of the day’s events here: Mackenzie’s final medical defense motion denied
July 9th, 2014: Benton, Loretta, and son Cody all found guilty. Story here: Mackenzie family found guilty at marijuana trial
–Sentencing set for August 28th
— River Cities Reader coverage here as well.
July 10th, 2014: Scott County Attorney defends prosecution of case, says he has no intention of seizing Mackenzie family assets, and that had he declined to pursue this case, he would be setting a bad precedent for Scott County. Quad City Times coverage here: Walton defends prosecution of Mackenzie family
July 11: Iowa Public Radio’s River to River covers the Mackenzie story.
What Benton Mackenzie was doing would be considered legal in New Mexico, doctor says http://t.co/7ACtdsbWj2
— Brian Wellner (@brianwellner) July 12, 2014
— Brian Wellner (@brianwellner) July 14, 2014
— Brian Wellner (@brianwellner) July 17, 2014
— Brian Wellner (@brianwellner) July 18, 2014
July 22: Libertarian candidate Jake Porter: Governor Branstad I Beg Your Pardon