Iowa cancer patient recently convicted for growing herb takes vacation in pot-friendly Oregon


Benton Mackenzie in court.

Benton Mackenzie doesn’t have much time left. The angiosarcoma eating away at his blood vessels and leaving fist-sized tumors on his skin is in the final stages. He’s in pain. It’s why he chose to grow cannabis at his parent’s Iowa home where he lives with his wife. It was worth the risk, a risk that ultimately led to his conviction for cannabis cultivation earlier this month along with his wife.
Without much strength or time left, though, Mackenzie wants to be comfortable. So he’s travelled from Iowa to Oregon where he can legally purchase cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation. It’s likely a last trip for Mackenzie, his wife and their son. And one he is already enjoying.

Mackenzie was looking forward to patient-donated cannabis and high-CBD oil to possibly slow the cancer’s growth and give him a little bit more time.
“I have word there will be fresh juice for me right when I get off the plane,” 48-year-old Benton Mackenzie told the Quad-City Times this week. “I’m going to hit that like it’s going out of style.”

Photos of Mackenzie’s tumor growth he kept as part of his log.

Cops raided Mackenzie’s home in June of 2013, finding 71 pot plants along with about a month’s worth of pot treatments as well as pages and pages of logs that Mackenzie was keeping to track the progress of his cannabis cancer treatment. You know, the type of evidence that should prove that the guy wasn’t growing to illegally sell pot but to safe his life? Yeah. That kind of evidence. Unfortunately, that kind of evidence isn’t allowed in a pot trial in Iowa, so Mackenzie had to face trial and was eventually convicted.
Scott County District Attorney Mike Walton claims he had no choice but to try and convict the deathly ill Mackenzie. If he didn’t, he says he would have been legalizing medical cannabis in the state by default. Walton points out that he chose not to pursue seizing Mackenzie’s parent’s property. What a nice guy.
“If he’s not prosecuted, do I prosecute anyone who claims to grow medical marijuana?” Walton said to the Sioux City Journal. “Aren’t I just changing the law for Scott County? And is that right, or should the law be changed in Des Moines for the whole state?”
Because of prior drug charges for some mushrooms back in 2000 and a possession charge in 2011, Mackenzie could face up to fifteen years in prison, which he says would certainly be a death sentence. Charges against Mackenzie’s parents were dropped, but it’s unlikely they’ll do the same for Mackenzie according to Walton.
But for now, he’s enjoying the freedom of Oregon, where out-of-state patients can apply for and receive a state-issued medical cannabis card. Though the prices are high (around $350 an ounce for the high-CBD strains he is looking for), Mackenzie says he’s had numerous Oregonians offer to help him out on his vacation.