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River Cities' Reader - Issue 860 - July 10, 2014

River Cities' Reader - Issue 860 - July 10, 2014

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River Cities' Reader - Issue 860 - July 10, 2014
River Cities' Reader - Issue 860 - July 10, 2014

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Jul 10, 2014
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River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
21
 No. 860 • July 10 - 23, 2014
2
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
 
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 I
. . 
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River Cities’ Reader 
 • Vol.
21
 No. 860 • July 10 - 23, 2014
 3
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
Medical Marijuana in Iowa Is Long Overdue
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
by Kathleen McCarthykm@rcreader.com
O
n Monday, July 7, before the  jury was brought in for his trial, Benton Mackenzie collapsed in the courtroom and was taken to Trinity Medical Center in Bettendorf. On Tues-day, however, the Long Grove, Iowa, resi-dent accused of manufacturing marijuana had reportedly been released from the hospital and testified in his own defense.For those new to this matter before the Seventh Judicial Court District in Scott County – presided over by Judge Henry Latham (appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in March 2013) – Benton and his wife Loretta were arrested a year ago and charged with growing marijuana, while their son Cody was arrested and charged with possession of less than a gram of marijuana because ... well, just because.Benton stated, in media reports last year, that he was growing marijuana for the singular purpose of extracting the cannabidiol oil contained in the marijuana plant to treat his angiosarcoma cancer, purportedly in a terminal phase. According to Benton, nothing else but the cannabidiol oil relieves the extreme suffering he is experiencing from horrific lesions that manifest on his posterior. Unfortunately, cannabidiol is extremely expensive. It can be purchased on Amazon.com, among many places, for medicinal purposes because it does not contain THC, and therefore it is not illegal in the U.S. For most people, however, the cost is prohibitive, especially as an ongoing treatment.So painful and prolific are his symptoms that he was released from the Scott County jail days after his initial incarceration, allegedly because the county did not want the responsibility for or expense of his health care, nor was the facility equipped to handle his extreme case. The office of County Attorney Mike Walton, however, has aggressively expended tax dollars in prosecuting this invalid, his family, and his friends, but only if Benton is not allowed the common-law defense of growing marijuana for medical purposes. The prosecution submitted a motion in limine that was approved by Judge Latham to disallow any mention of his production or use of marijuana for medical purposes. Benton’s family has posted comments on social-media sites stating they fear that if Benton even mentions his medical condition or cancer, he will be held in contempt and jailed for up to six months, during which time they believe he will die.Judge Latham’s pre-trial ruling on May 28 in response to the prosecutor’s motion states: “The legislature has passed recent legislation to allow the possession of cannabidiol oil with specific restrictions on such possession. Currently this is pending legislation awaiting the governor’s signature approving the same. Therefore, the court has no option at this time but to grant the state’s motion in limine as it relates to the defendant’s ability to make an argument of medical necessity in the use of marijuana” (RCReader.com/y/benton1). Only two days later, Branstad did sign said Senate File 2360, the Medical Cannabidiol Act, into law; it applies only to people with “intractable epilepsy” and requires that the medicine be obtained from outside Iowa. Carl Olsen, a longtime advocate and grassroots activist for medical marijuana in Iowa, on June 29 filed a petition for judicial review with Latham pointing out the law-signing to the court. Unfortunately, despite Latham’s own words that the court had no option
sans
 the governor’s signature, the petition for review has gone unanswered, even though it could have had a critical impact on Benton’s ability to legitimately defend himself.Clearly the court fears the jury would be persuaded to a not-guilty verdict if it heard this truthful defense, regardless of archaic-albeit-evolving laws that still disallow growing marijuana to produce cannabidiol for medical purposes other than epilepsy.The prosecution appears even more inhumane considering all the available peer-reviewed scientific research evidencing the efficacy of cannabidiol, as well as marijuana itself, in relieving acute and chronic cancer symptoms, certain neurological disorders, and pain. The establishment’s resistance, both liberal and conservative, to legalizing medical
Continued On Page 17 

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