Libertarian Party of Iowa: Governor Branstad Pardon This Dying Man
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Des Moines, Iowa-The Libertarian Party of Iowa has called on Governor Terry Branstad to pardon Benton Mackenzie, a dying 48 year old cancer patient who was convicted on Wednesday in Scott County for using medical marijuana.
“As I travel around the state, I listen to people who have lost their gun rights, voting rights, and have been thrown in prison for victimless crimes. Rapists, child molesters, and violent criminals are going free while dying people face long prison sentences. Here is man who is dying of cancer, and the state is wasting taxpayer dollars incarcerating him for treating the symptoms of his disease. Governor Branstad has the power to pardon Mr. Mackenzie, but apparently lacks the leadership necessary to do it.” said Jake Porter, the Libertarian candidate for Iowa Secretary of State and former Alternate to the Libertarian National Committee.
When discussing the issue, Dr. Lee Hieb, the Libertarian Party of Iowa’s candidate for Governor, had the following to say “In Iowa, at least according to the statutes, a first offense can land you in jail for 50 years. This is done in spite of the fact that alcohol is demonstrably worse in many ways than marijuana. As an Orthopedic surgeon who has spent thirty years treating trauma victims, I can tell you, the violence and mayhem from motorcycle accidents, bar fights, domestic abuse, gunshot wounds and stabbings are not due to marijuana. The violent behavior that lands you in the ER is associated with alcohol, PCP and Methamphetamine.”
Benton Mackenzie faces a three-year mandatory minimum sentence after his conviction. A Quinnipiac University survey in March found that Iowa voters favored legalizing medical marijuana 81-17 percent.
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