June 7, 2019

Man who bought 42 pounds of marijuana-infused chocolates to medicate his cancer sentenced to 4 years in prison

A Montgomery man who ordered a 42-pound bag of marijuana-infused chocolates to self-medicate as he battled cancer was sentenced to four years in prison, his lawyer said.

Thomas J. Franzen, 37, pled guilty to a reduced charge of possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, a felony that carries a prison term of four to 14 years, according to Kane County court records.

Prosecutors dismissed more severe charges of cannabis trafficking after he was charged in February 2014 when authorities intercepted the shipment of 430 individually foil-wrapped THC-infused chocolate bars that were delivered to his home from a California medical marijuana dispensary, court records show.

The felony charge for cannabis trafficking of more than 5,000 grams carried a prison term of 12 to 60 years. The May 30 guilty plea came one day before the state legislature voted to legalize marijuana on a recreational level.

Franzen’s attorney David Camic said the judge was compassionate and kind when sentencing Franzen.

“He’s very relieved to have the case over,” Camic said. “The judge was cognizant of his health and wanted to give him a break, but ultimately 40 pounds of cannabis is a large amount.”

Franzen has stage three testicular cancer that spread to both his lungs and abdominal cavity, according to an August 2018 court petition for an expert to evaluate if Franzen was fit to stand trial. He also has a reoccurrence of renal cell cancer in his right remaining kidney.

Franzen, of the 900 block of Harmony Drive, is due again in court on June 14 where he will present medical test results to Judge Clint Hull, who will decide when Franzen should begin serving his prison term.

“He’s going through necessary medical treatment and hopefully he’s in a period of remission,” Camic said. “The judge was very kind to delay the sentencing because he will not receive the same level of care in prison that he’s receiving now.”

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