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Stage 4 Cancer Patient Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for Possession of THC Chocolate

Photo: Illinois court system


The Inertia

Multiple outlets in the Chicago area are reporting that 37-year-old cancer patient Thomas J. Franzen has been sentenced to four years in prison for possession of 42 pounds of THC chocolate. He reportedly ordered the chocolate from a California dispensary in February of 2014.

Franzen, according to attorneys, pleaded down after being charged with “cannabis distributing” when authorities found “430 individually foil-wrapped marijuana chocolates.” Defense attorney David Camic said his client was using the chocolates to self-medicate and relieve himself of nausea. The trafficking charge carried a 12 to 60-year prison term in Illinois.

Franzen, who didn’t have any prior criminal arrests, is now suffering from testicular cancer that has spread to his lungs and abdominal cavity, according to a 2018 court petition filed to have an expert evaluate whether he was fit to stand trial. He also had a re-occurrence of renal cancer in one of his kidneys, according to that same document.

A judge will decide June 14 when Franzen will begin his sentence and is expected to show compassion for Franzen’s condition.

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The cruel irony here is that the Illinois General Assembly passed a marijuana legalization bill May 26 and will become the 11th state to make the plant legal for recreational use in January of 2020.

It is not believed that Franzen possessed a medical marijuana card at the time of his arrest. “I wish the new legalization law applied to this case,” Camic said. “From my understanding, [the new law] is for personal use only. His problem is that edibles have a large mass, especially chocolates. And even with legalization, I don’t believe you can import cannabis without authorization.”

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