Thomas J. Franzen, a resident of Montgomery, Illinois, has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis.
The charges come after authorities intercepted a 42-pound package of 430 THC-infused chocolates from a California dispensary. The 37-year-old, who is fighting an on-going battle with testicular cancer, claims to have been using the products to self-medicate severe cancer-related symptoms such as nausea.
Validating Franzen’s claims, according to Cancer.org, the active component of cannabis, THC, has had proven benefits in suppressing side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.
Interestingly, though, this case comes just days after Illinois passed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, effective January 2020.
With lawmakers having presented the new bill as a means to support the expungement of cannabis-related convictions, Franzen’s conviction comes as a surprise to residents who had hoped for an end to cannabis-related legal injustice. Just days after stressing goals to correct an unjustified system, and promoting cannabis-use in their own state, Illinois is still convicting those who are using cannabis-infused products to treat their illnesses.
Although prosecutors did not seek the far more severe penalty of 12 to 60 years with no chance of probation, which typically aligns with cannabis trafficking, the overall outcome of this case seems like a step backward in the state’s current political climate.