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Iowa man who says he grew marijuana to treat cancer found guilty of drug charges

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DAVENPORT, Iowa — An Iowa man who said he grew dozens of marijuana plants to help treat his cancer was found guilty Wednesday of drug charges.

The jury deliberated just a few hours before returning the verdict for Benton Mackenzie in Scott County District Court, the Quad-City Times reported (http://bit.ly/1w22gUD ). His wife, Loretta, and adult son, Cody, were also found guilty of drug charges.

Dozens of marijuana plants were found and confiscated from Mackenzie's parents' Long Grove home last summer. Mackenzie, 48, and his supporters said he grew the marijuana to treat angiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels. He said cannabis oil from the plants had been shrinking the skin lesions that develop from his condition.

But a judge denied his attempts to use that defense during the trial and argued there is no legislation that allows it. Mackenzie's last motion, filed Tuesday, made reference to a bill signed by Gov. Terry Branstad that legalized cannabis oil for the treatment of epileptic seizures.

"I'm flabbergasted the court ordered me to not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth," Mackenzie said after the verdict. "It's an abomination of justice."

PHOTO: Loretta Mackenzie, left, jokes with her husband Benton Mackenzie while waiting for the jury to return during deliberations in their trial at Scott County District Court Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Davenoirt, Iowa. The couple was found guilty manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy, violation of the drug tax stamp act and possession of drug paraphernalia, the The Quad City Times reported. Their son, Cody, 22, charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia,w as also found guilty. Mackenzie and his supporters said he grew the marijuana to treat angiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels. (AP Photo/The Quad City Times, Kevin E. Schmidt) MAGS OUT, TV OUT, NO SALES
Loretta Mackenzie, left, jokes with her husband Benton Mackenzie while waiting for the jury to return during deliberations in their trial at Scott County District Court Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Davenoirt, Iowa. The couple was found guilty manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy, violation of the drug tax stamp act and possession of drug paraphernalia, the The Quad City Times reported. Their son, Cody, 22, charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia,w as also found guilty. Mackenzie and his supporters said he grew the marijuana to treat angiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels. (AP Photo/The Quad City Times, Kevin E. Schmidt) MAGS OUT, TV OUT, NO SALES

Mackenzie testified instead that his wife did not participate in the growing operation. He later told the newspaper he felt he wasn't getting a fair trial, which had closing arguments Tuesday.

Mackenzie and his wife, 43, were found guilty of manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy, violation of the drug tax stamp act and possession of drug paraphernalia. Their son, 22, was found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Loretta Mackenzie told the newspaper she doesn't hold anything against the jury.

"They were not allowed to hear enough information," she said. "It was definitely a very controlled environment. It's pounded into your head that no matter what your feelings are, you're going to follow the law."

The husband and wife are expected to be sentenced in late August. They told the newspaper they plan to appeal.


Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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