MONTGOMERY, IL — Days after a bill to legalize recreational marijuana was sent to the governor’s desk, a Kane County man was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to ordering a 42-pound box of THC-infused chocolates from a California dispensary to alleviate nausea related to cancer treatment. Montgomery resident Thomas Franzen, a stage-four cancer patient according to the Associated Press, pleaded guilty to possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis.
While the charge is a felony, sentencing options varied from probation up to 15 years in prison.
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Franzen’s attorney David Camic, who did not believe Franzen has a medical marijuana card, said Kane County Judge Clint Hull was “very kind” in sentencing Franzen, according to Kendall County Now. The Montgomery man is expected to serve less than half his sentence.
Franzen, of the 900 block of Harmony Drive, was originally charged in 2014 with cannabis trafficking, possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, possession of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge in exchange for dropping the other charges — including the trafficking charge that could have netted a minimum 12-year sentence and up to 60 years.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office said Franzen intended to sell the THC-laced chocolates. Authorities said they also found items in his bedroom including cocaine, more than 100 additional grams of marijuana, a scale, more than $2,000 in cash, ledgers used to track drug sales, materials used for drug packaging and numerous postal receipts for parcels he had mailed to locations across the U.S. and Canada
“We’d hoped to convince the prosecution to give him probation,” Camic told Kendall County Now. “The judge was cognizant of his health and wanted to give him some sort of break, but 40 pounds of cannabis is a lot.”
State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said his office reduced a mandatory 12-year minimum sentence to four years, of which he is only required to serve two “in recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen’s medical condition,” adding, “We did this in spite of evidence that proves that Mr. Franzen is a drug dealer.”
In February 2014, authorities intercepted a 42-pound package Franzen had ordered from a California dispensary containing 430 individually foil-wrapped marijuana chocolates, the Daily Herald reported.
Franzen was reportedly suffering from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and abdomen, and had a reoccurrence of renal cell cancer.
A judge will decide when Franzen will begin serving his sentence based on the results of medical tests presented during a June 14 court appearance, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Editor’s note: Updated with a statement from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.