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Man with cancer faces felony charges for medicating with marijuana

While some states have enacted legislation to legalize marijuana use for certain medical conditions, other states still consider the drug illegal. Currently, 23 states along with Washington D.C. have legalized the plant for the medical treatment of certain diseases. Earlier this year, Wisconsin and Iowa, along with a small list of other states, approved a bill allowing limited legal marijuana use for small children who suffer from seizures. People who are using cannabis to treat other medical conditions, however, may face drug charges for illegal possession of the drug.

A recent case has caused a national outcry as an Iowa man suffering from cancer may spend up to three years in prison for possession of marijuana. The man was using the substance as an alternative to undergoing chemotherapy treatment for his angiosarcoma. Since Iowa law does not allow medical marijuana use for cancer patients, the man faces felony charges.

The 48–year-old man stated that he believes he has experienced a significant improvement in his cancer tumor since beginning the self-medicated marijuana treatments. Despite the marked improvement, the man is receiving hospice care and hopes he does not have to spend his remaining days in prison. The man’s parents, who are both in their 70s, along with his wife and son also received felony charges for having marijuana on their property.

The debate over the medical use of marijuana continues across the nation. While research shows medical benefits of marijuana for certain conditions, some states are still reluctant to legalize it. People who face criminal drug charges may find it extremely overwhelming to tackle the legal system on their own. Partnering with a criminal defense attorney who has a great knowledge of Iowa law may be vital to their case.

Source: Des Moines Register, “Cancer patient says pot conviction a death sentence,” Grant Rodgers, July 10, 2014. 

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