Hope for Hemp: Cave City family sees future in new crop


Hannah McCarthyin Feature Long Reads

Story and photos by Hannah McCarthy

Just 2 miles outside of downtown Cave City, Kentucky, the landscape quickly turns from old brick and mortar to farmhouses and dirt roads. Down one such dirt road, a 45-acre plot of land rests nestled between patches of trees, large stretches of wildflowers and tall grasses. Two 2012 Clayton model mobile homes, an old red barn and a spattering of newer-looking structures dot the immense sea of green grass.

The dirt road leads to a gravel pathway almost up to the door of the main house. This is the new home and farm of the Wilson family, one of Kentucky’s first families to enter into the world of hemp farming through the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.

Inside, two men, the heads of the two households, scurry around in the small kitchen of the main home. Dodging the kitchen island, the dog and each other, they are busy making phone calls to clients and searching for a product or a tool or a piece of paper. There is much to be done on this April day, as the summer is quickly approaching.

One of them is a burly bearded man in a farmer’s plaid button down. The hat he wears reads “Green Remedy,” and it is adorned with buttons and pins with pro-hemp sayings, phrases and images. Tufts of curly gray and black hair stick out from beneath the hat, and a salt-and-pepper goatee wraps around his bright smile.

This is Chad Wilson, sometimes better known as the Hemp Preacher.

He doesn’t remember when he first got the name or even who gave it to him; all he knows is that it has caught on over the years.

“I can get up on a soapbox pretty quick,” he laughs. “Thing is I get to speakin’ and it just turns to preachin’.”

Chad knows he is not the only one out there who preaches the power of hemp as a versatile and strong plant. He believes in its abilities to rejuvenate Kentucky farms and the agriculture industry across the nation.

As for his nickname, Chad does not want to end up as the face of Kentucky hemp, although he slowly starting to gain that reputation. He said his biggest goal is to spread the word about the industry and to help it grow with or without his name.

This year, Chad and his family are taking their involvement in the industry one step further. They will be planting and growing their own hemp in order to have a hand in every aspect of the production.

“We’re trying to get into a position where we help others, and we feel like it’s our calling; by doing that we help grow the industry.”

Hemp History and the IHRPP

Hemp has been planted on American soil since the Colonial Era. According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky planted its first crop in 1775, and the state would become the leader in hemp production for years to come. In 1850, hemp production was at its peak with 40,000 tons of the crop coming out of Kentucky’s soil. However, in 1938 all forms of cannabis, including hemp, were outlawed, and so began its disappearance from the American farm.

During World War II, a small resurgence occurred in the industry, as hemp was used to make rope and materials for the war effort. Once the war ended, the crops began to dwindle and died out completely by 1958.

The “Second Prohibition,” as it is called by some hemp enthusiasts, occurred in 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act was passed, declaring Marijuana a “Schedule 1 substance.” Although hemp is also from the cannabis plant, it is grown and cultivated differently than marijuana. However, much of the legislation passed in the 19th and 20th centuries lumped both plants together without exception.

While marijuana is grown in a wider, spread out area, hemp farmers hope that stalks will grow up rather than out. Marijuana is also grown and harvested for its THC content. Hemp is cultivated for its seed and fiber. It has been used to make lotions, clothing and hair care products, but until recently it has been a U.S. import.

The 2014 U.S. farm bill allowed certain states to test hemp farm pilot programs. Kentucky was one of the first states to adopt the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, and from its installation has seen the acreage of crops planted go from zero to 2,300 acres in just under 3 years. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture hopes to see continued growth in the industry as the 2017 season begins around late May. However, many local farmers still worry about the risks of industrial hemp farming.

In a letter included in the 2017 IHRPP Policy Guide, Ryan Quarles, KDA Commissioner, stated the importance of maintaining flexibility and strong communication between farmers, government officials and law enforcement agencies:

“Freedom, flexibility and latitude to try new methods and applications are essential to the success of any agricultural research pilot program… the Department must work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officials to devise and oversee a research pilot program that encourages continued expansion of industrial hemp production while also effectively upholding laws prohibiting marijuana and other illegal drugs.”

Still, some small family farm owners have not seen this kind of flexibility from their local law enforcement and government. In fact, they have experienced quite the opposite sentiment as regulations on percentages of the cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are strictly enforced.

This month, Kentucky agriculture officials seized and burned almost 100 pounds of Kentucky industrial hemp from grower, Lindsay Todd. Her crop, when measured for THC percentage, came out at .4083 percent according to officials. That means the crop was one-tenth over the legal limit of .3 percent, giving officials the right to eliminate it.

Chad Wilson weighed in on the incident, saying that alternatives are necessary if the IHRPP is to continue successfully in Kentucky.

“There have to be rules and regulations, but there also have to be concerns for the farmer and mitigation of loss…the plants are affected by the environment, by the weather, by stress that can throw those levels off,” Chad said.

As long as the law remains at .3 percent and no compensation for loss is provided, Wilson worries other farmers will be reluctant to begin growing their own crops in Kentucky.

How it all began

For most of his life, Chad Wilson, like many of his now critics, had a deep-seated opposition to hemp based on the assumption that it was the same as marijuana and was detrimental to society.

“I didn’t understand what hemp was, that it wasn’t marijuana. That’s how we were raised here in the South,” said Chad. “So I’ve made this incredible journey from where I was to where I am now.”

In 2011, Chad Wilson discovered the benefits of hemp after he began seeing posts about its various uses on Facebook. He started to look deeper, and he found information about the use of industrial hemp farming for vital remediation of the soil.

Then, as he looked further, he found stories about medical hemp and CBD oil helping children and adults with epilepsy or other painful health problems.

After being given the book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy,” Chad said things changed. He is now an advocate and self-proclaimed activist for the agriculture industry and industrial hemp in Kentucky.

In an effort to spread the word about hemp and provide hemp-based products to a larger market across the state and country, Chad and his partner, Chris Smith, founded Green Remedy, Inc., in October 2014. It is a company dedicated to the production of solely hemp products such as hair and skin care items, foods, and oils. The company also sells Cannabidiol products such as tinctures, capsules and concentrates.

Cannabinoids can be found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause euphoria or intoxication, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Instead, preclinical studies have shown that CBD has “anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety properties.”

Green Remedy, Inc. specializes in the now-legal production of this medicinal cannabis product.

In March 2015, hemp hit home for the Wilson family when Chad’s father suffered a stroke that left him virtually speechless for months. He would look with blank expression at his family members and respond to them with a simple “yes” or “no.”

“I knew we had to get CBD into his body,” Chad said.

Chad’s sister was a nurse practitioner who did not agree with the use of CBD, and she was especially against using it on her father. Not wanting to cause a divide in the family, Chad let go of the idea.

Six months later, Chad’s father was still having trouble formulating full sentences and engaging in conversation. His eyes looked different. They were dimmer than before.

Chad, unable to wait any longer, took his father to his computer. He sat him down and told him to read about the U.S. government patent on CBD oil, which states, “nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

“Take it,” Chad’s father looked at him with pleading eyes. “I’ll take it.”

In less than 10 days, Chad noticed a change. His father was speaking again, in full sentences. A year later he was laughing, joking and living on his own with a new lease on life.

“They said he would never drive again. They said he would never live on his own again. He would probably never speak again, never ride his motorcycle or be able to care for himself. We put him on CBD, and now I have my daddy back,” Chad said behind tear-filled eyes. “I have my daddy back.”

The Local Perspective

Not everyone shares the Wilsons’ sentiments about hemp and its role in American agriculture. Chad has faced ignorance and even discrimination from people around the country. Some of the most obvious opposition and lack of knowledge comes from his own locale, South Central Kentucky.

On Broadway Street, one can find a variety of antique shops, small restaurants and a number of “For Sale” signs. Squatty buildings with chipping paint and once-bright shop signs beckon a number of town locals and some tourists on a good day. Along Broadway, one patio set-up seems to catch the eye.

Magaline’s Antique Mall, with its plastic patio chairs and array of flowers and small trees, sits awaiting customers.

Inside, Magaline Meredith stands behind the counter.

“Hemp!? You mean that marijuana stuff? I’m afraid I don’t know nothing about that, darlin’,” she said.

A clay-like concealer covered her creviced face, and bright eyes shown through the thick black mascara under her polka-dotted hat.

“Come right on in, sugar,” said the old woman with raspy southern drawl. Her attention drifted to a raincoat-clad customer walking in the door.

“What can I do ya for…oh, well hey there honey,” she said, growing louder with the realization that her guest was actually someone she had been expecting. The man began to chat with Magaline’s husband behind her and they quickly engaged in a conversation about a plastic credit card scanner.

“Ya know, we used to use that hemp in the Navy. Made ropes and such,” he said.

“Yeah, and they’re usin’ it to make plastic and lotsa cool things nowadays,” said the man in the raincoat.  “Hell, they could probably make this credit card swiper outta hemp.”

“So it doesn’t get you high like real marijuana then?” Magaline asked, her bright eyes now sporting a look of confusion.

“I guess not,” said her husband.

“Well then, I guess I’m fine with them plantin’ it,” Magaline said, and they all went back to their search, leaving the conversation behind without a second glance.

Scenes like the one at Magaline’s are common in the state of Kentucky. While some people do know about hemp’s alternative uses, many still group the plant with its high-in-THC counterpart, marijuana.

In May of 2016, Chad paid a visit to the Warren County Justice Center to help his son get a driver’s license. Once he entered the building, Chad was told that he would have to leave the premises if he did not remove his Green Remedy hat. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the officials said that Chad’s hat “promoted marijuana” and so he would have to remove it before going any further.

Chad, not wanting to cause a scene, removed the hat but was disheartened by the entire event. After having explained himself to the officials and telling them that he was in fact a licensed grower, they still made him take off the hat.

“The only way this industry is gonna grow is if people take down these walls and freely communicate and share ideas,” Chad said. “And right now we’re still not seeing that.”

The Plan of Action

Back on his own farm, Chad and his son, Jordan, patiently await planting day. For now, June 1 is the set date when the first cutting will be placed in the soil. The Wilsons will be experimenting with cloning their plants rather than planting seeds.

“Cloning helps us ensure that the plant has good genes,” said Jordan. “That way it’ll be easier to regulate those THC levels and the quality of the plants we’re farming.”

With the planting of the cuttings quickly approaching, there is still much to be done on the farm- a shop to be furnished and cemented, greenhouses to be readied and careful protection of the plants themselves. Although the weather has been an obstacle in the process, the Wilsons remain hopeful that they will have a fully functioning farm within the next couple of months.

“We have a pretty good outline of what we’re going to do,” said Jordan. “But we don’t want to make anything too strict because things happen. It may rain. We may have some other setback. We just know what our end goal is, and we know we’ll make it happen.”

The Wilsons hope that the entire farm will one day become a place that draws people to Cave City. Chad believes that his farm has the potential to bring life back to the small town with an agritourism approach.

Jordan has planted radishes and carrots while he waits for the day to start planting the hemp cuttings. Another goal for the Wilson family, which Jordan is especially passionate about, is to run a certified Kentucky Organic produce farm. First, they will have to prove to the KDA that the land has been free of pesticides and chemicals for a three-year period.

Both Chad and Jordan are confident that they will receive the certification, as most of the land has not been farmed in years. Except for the back, where there was corn and soybean production, the Wilson family can prove that there have not been any chemicals or sprays on the land for around six to 10 years.

With big plans ahead of them, the Wilsons work daily to ensure that their farm will run smoothly. Chad wakes up almost every morning at 5 a.m. to begin his day making phone calls, doing business and readying the farm.

After the cuttings of hemp are planted in the greenhouse beds, the Wilsons will finally have a hand in all aspects of hemp agricultural production.

“I especially care about keeping [the hemp plants] inside, away from external factors like bugs and bad weather, especially if they will be used medicinally,” Chad said, mentioning the importance of knowing exactly where your hemp products come from.

Chad will get to oversee every part of the process from plant birth to the lab at Green Remedy and then, he hopes, into the lives of people in need.

Once everything is up and running smoothly, the final steps in Chad’s plan include making the farm a training center for anyone who wants to grow hemp. Old farmers who want to try something new. New farmers who have never put one seed in the ground. Anyone with a true desire to grow the plant will be welcome to listen and learn the Hemp Preacher’s lessons.

“My hope is that I can build something that’s a benefit to the farmer and the agricultural economy around Cave City. Then, eventually we can experiment with new crops…see what works and what doesn’t, and then we can train farmers based on that research,” Chad said.

“We’re starting a new page of history for this farm.”

CONTINUE READING AND TO SEE PICS OF FARM!

What is the DEA up to now? What are they doing to our CBD?


When the news hit the fans today concerning the DEA’s “new rule” on the sale of CBD remedies and other products everybody jumped up and said “WHAT?”, or at least I did!

I had been so wrapped up in the Kratom issue lately I hadn’t even been thinking about CBD’s.  Low and behold, I thought, while I was looking over ‘here’, ‘they’ were conjuring up a

new “rule” over ‘there’.  Something else to be able to use to fill up the Courts, Jails, even Prisons with.  It just never ends.  Every time that we as a people come upon anything that may be

legal at the time, that actually may be worth using, and could possibly benefit us in one way or another, ‘They’ come along and snatch it right out from under us.

That is what Agenda 21 (Agenda 2030) is  all about!  Control of the masses through regulation of food and medicines, (among other things).

THIS is unacceptable!  This must stop!  We cannot allow the Government, whether it be State, Federal or U.N., to be able to have this kind of control over our food and other natural plants!

Before the pharmaceutical conglomerates ever existed it was the herb gardens which provided the medicine to the households.  This is referenced throughout history.

After reading updates and trading information with others who are watching these issues closely as well, it seems like the DEA is just trying to stand up and make some noise so as to get everyone a little worried.

I am copy/pasting a letter here that was forwarded to me from a colleague which states that legally they cannot prosecute for CBD oil as long as it is below .3% THC.

This having been said, the DEA memo states the following:

The memo states: it serves to clarify and reinforce the DEA’s position on all cannabis extracts, including CBD oil. That position is: They are all federally illegal Schedule I substances. “Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances,” the notice says. CBD oil derived from hemp is now commonly available nationwide via web sites and mail order services. Those operations survive on the assumption that cannabidiol products below the legal threshold for THC percentage in hemp (0.3 percent or less) are technically legal. Not so, says the DEA.

“For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code” and therefore remain federally illegal. In other words: The DEA is confident that it can find enough traces of other cannabinoids in your CBD oil to arrest and prosecute. And if they can’t, they still have the option of arresting and prosecuting based on the CBD oil itself.

Now the question becomes this, will the DEA use this “rule” to stage raids and arrests for marketing CBD products?  Knowing that according to the information I have here from the Folium Legal Counsel anything under the .3% threshold cannot be prosecuted, they can still use it to fill up the Courts and jails and maybe even some Prisons while collecting Fines and Court Costs as well, because not everyone will be able to afford to go to Court and fight the charges, much like Marijuana is now.

So how do we go forward with this information and what do we do to change it?  Start by calling the White House and complaining!  Obviously the current Government as it stands now has lost all touch with its people.  It is not because they are stupid, ignorant, or ill-informed.  It is because they know exactly what they are doing, and they DO have a plan.

It is time that the people make their own plan.  To take back our Country.

Remember the United States of America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?

I want it back now.

SK

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM FOLIUM LEGAL COUNSEL REGARDING THE DEA’s MEMO:

On December 14, 2016, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration published a final rule regarding the “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marijuana Extract.” ( https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-29941/establishment-of-a-new-drug-code-for-marihuana-extract)
This new rule does not create any new substantive regulation or law regarding the legal status of marijuana or marijuana extract. Instead, it creates a new tracking code number for “Marihuana Extracts” (which include cannabinoids).

Previously, Marijuana Extracts were classified under the code number for “Marihuana. Under the new rule, extracts are now classified separately. The DEA uses these codes to track quantities of controlled substances imported to and exported from the United States. This new rule affects only DEA-registered entities who previously were required to track such materials. As the document states, “[t]he only direct effect to registrants who handle marihuana extracts will be the requirement to add the new drug code to their registrations.” The rule goes into effect on January 13, 2017.

Regarding the legal status of CBD derived from industrial hemp: The 2014 US Farm Bill was an act of congress signed by the president and that is the highest law of the land. The DEA cannot make law and try to redefine a law passed by the US Congress which defined industrial hemp in section 7606 as “Any cannabis sativa L that produces naturally less than .3% THC on a dry weight basis.”
Furthermore, the DEA is not allowed to interfere with a legal state licensed cannabis business – there is very recent case law that set precedent for this in the 9th circuit. See here:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ruling-marijuana-idUSKCN10R1YN
Lastly, the DEA was purposely de-funded by the US Congress last year (and is poised to do the same for this year:
(http://archives.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2015/12/16/congress-set-to-ban-feds-from-enforcing-cannabis-laws-again) from pursuing any enforcement of their archaic interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in legal states.

We hope this information helps you and your customers filter through the mis-information and fear mongering that usually runs rampant anytime a government memo affecting cannabis is circulated. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us directly, but it’s business as usual over here!

 

 

 

The DEA May Have Just Flipped The Script on the Cannabis Industry And Not In A Good Way

If you are licensed to work with marijuana extracts, you have 30 days from today to update your paperwork. Also, Cannabidiol (CBD) extracts are now Schedule I substances and can’t cross state lines.

Did the DEA Just Outlaw Hemp-Derived CBD?

A new rule published by the DEA today led many in the cannabis industry to assume the worst – that the agency had decided to crack down on hemp-derived CBD. Take a deep breath. This is likely not the case.

New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made CBD oil a little more federally illegal in a little-noticed bureaucratic maneuver this morning.

U.S. Representative Yarmuth co-sponsors bill to decriminalize cannabis oil


Posted: Sep 22, 2014 4:54 PM CST Updated: Sep 22, 2014 5:37 PM CST

By Lawrence Smith – email

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Right now, it’s against federal law to use cannabis oil – a marijuana extract – even for medical purpose, but Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is co-sponsoring a bill that would change that.

If the bill passes, using cannabis oil for medical purposes would no longer put you in danger of landing at the federal courthouse facing drug charges.

Suzanne De Gregorio’s son, Alex, suffers from autism and epilepsy.

She believes cannabis oil can help control the seizures that have hindered his development.

"Children with epilepsy, they’re finding that it can calm the seizures," she said.

Suzanne is using cannabis oil – or CBD oil – right now to help control the after-effects of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

It’s legal because the oil imported from overseas, but Suzanne wants to see more research before trying it on her son.

"This is for me. I don’t give it to him because you really need a neurologists involvement," she said.

Kentucky has approved research into CBD oil for treatment of seizures, but the trials have stalled because the federal government still considers it a controlled substance.

For her son’s sake, De Gregorio is trying to change that.

"He’s suffered tremendously in his life. I mean the pain, the screams. You wouldn’t believe it. And I promised him when he was very little I’m going to find am answer. I’m going to make this better for you somehow, some way," she said.

Now Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3rd Dist.) has signed onto a bill being pushed by De Gregorio that would decriminalize CBD oil and hemp for medical use.

"The idea that we as a federal government have classified hemp in the same category that we classify heroin makes absolutely no sense, and it’s preventing some very, very important therapies from reaching many of our needy citizens," said Yarmuth.

The bill is called the Charlotte’s Web Act; named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, whose seizures led to development of a non-intoxicating marijuana extract.

"I believe this could be that answer. I hope it is. I want at least have the right to find out," said De Gregorio.

Yarmuth says the bill will not likely be considered until the next session of Congress. Supporters say they’ll keep pushing.

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Judge Henry Latham’s ruling was filed. "I’m not allowed to give proof why I was using. Now, there is no fair trial."


           

Since his arrest last summer, Benton Mackenzie has maintained he grew marijuana to treat terminal cancer.

Now, just days ahead of going to trial Monday on drug conspiracy charges, a Scott County District judge has ruled he won’t allow Mackenzie to use his ailment as a defense.

"I’m not allowed to mention anything," Mackenzie said Thursday, the day Judge Henry Latham’s ruling was filed. "I’m not allowed to give proof why I was using. Now, there is no fair trial."

The 48-year-old, who shared his story with the Quad-City Times last September, was diagnosed with angiosarcoma in 2011. It’s a cancer of the blood vessels, in which tumors appear as skin lesions.

He says the lesions have grown enormous since sheriff’s deputies confiscated 71 marijuana plants from his parents’ Long Grove home last summer. He needed all those plants just to be able to extract enough cannabis oil for daily treatments, he says.

Mackenzie wants to be able to tell jurors why he grew marijuana. He wants to show them pictures of his cancerous lesions.

"If I’m to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and the court doesn’t let me tell the truth, they’re making me a liar," he said.

Assistant Scott County Attorney Patrick McElyea, who is prosecuting Mackenzie, filed a motion earlier this month to limit any testimony regarding medical marijuana. He has declined to comment on the case.

McElyea based his motion on the 2005 Iowa Supreme Court decision in State v. Bonjour, a case similar to Mackenzie’s. Lloyd Bonjour, an AIDS patient, was convicted of growing marijuana, and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

Latham sided with McElyea’s motion, stating, "The court is not aware of any legislation or been provided with any legislation which provides for such defense."

The judge states he is aware Mackenzie has angiosarcoma. He also is aware Iowa lawmakers recently legalized oil concentrated with cannabidiol, or CBD, with "specific restrictions."

The pending law, expected to be signed today by Gov. Terry Branstad, only applies to those suffering severe epileptic seizures.

Mackenzie says he thinks state government is the "bigger criminal," because it’s practicing medicine without a license in deciding who can and who cannot possess medical marijuana.

"At least the state is now recognizing, with a law, that marijuana has medicinal value," he said, adding his plants were from a strain rich in CBD, which in other states is associated more with medical use than recreational use.

Without the medical necessity defense, Mackenzie said his fate is "completely in the Lord’s hands."

Sitting through several hours of hearings over the past 11 months has been hard enough on someone with lesions covering his legs and rear, he says. He can’t imagine sitting through an entire trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection.

He says he may show up to court wearing a kilt, so jurors can see for themselves. But he wouldn’t want his lesions oozing and bleeding all over the courtroom furniture.

"That shows how much of a criminal I’m not," he said.

At one point during a phone conversation with a reporter Thursday afternoon, he reacted because one of his larger lesions opened up and bled onto the chair and floor at home, he said.

"I’m sitting in a pile of blood," he said a moment later.

He wants to request a nurse or a medical provider be allowed to sit in the courtroom with him. He says the judge is allowing breaks, but he expects he’ll have to take a break every few minutes just to replace the large, disposable underpad for furniture.

He anticipates that with his failing health and the number of co-defendants, the trial will come across as a "circus."

Mackenzie is charged with felony drug possession along with his wife, Loretta Mackenzie. His 73-year-old parents, Dorothy and Charles Mackenzie, are charged with hosting a drug house, and his son, Cody, is charged with misdemeanor possession. His childhood friend, Stephen Bloomer, also is charged in the drug conspiracy.

All six defendants are being represented by a different attorney.

Lately, Mackenzie’s health has been "touch and go," he says, with episodes of vomiting, cold sweats and extreme pain. He almost always feels tired.

He raised enough money from family and friends to travel twice this spring to Oregon, which has legalized medical marijuana.

Each trip was a week long. During the first trip, he met with a physician, who approved him for a state medical marijuana identification card. On the second trip, he was able to purchase oil in an amount equivalent to a pound and a half of marijuana, which he couldn’t by law bring back to Iowa.

The little bit of relief is nothing compared to the daily treatments prior to his arrest, when he was shrinking his skin lesions, he said. He claims the oil in Oregon also stopped the growth of the lesions, but only temporarily.

Mackenzie said he hopes jurors will show compassion in deciding his future.

"No matter what, if I’m found guilty, I’ll do at least three years in prison, which is a death sentence for me," he said. "If I’m found guilty at all, I’m a dead man. I’m lucky I’m not dead already."

Copyright 2014 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags

Benton Mackenzie, Iowa, Henry Latham, Medical Cannabis, Cannabidiol, Cannabis, Iowa Supreme Court, Mackenzie, Patrick Mcelyea, Cannabis Oil, Lloyd Bonjour, Legalized Oil, Cancer, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana

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