Cancer Patient Receives Jail Time Over 42 Pounds Of Pot-Infused Chocolate

By Kelly Burch 06/12/19

Postal workers because suspicious about packages being delivered to the man's home and alerted police.

cancer patient awaiting jail time over pot-infused chocolate

One day before the state legislature voted to approve recreational cannabis, an Illinois man was sentenced to four years in prison for ordering copious amounts of marijuana-infused chocolates back in 2014. 

According to a recent statement by Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon, 37-year-old Thomas J. Franzen ordered 42 pounds of chocolate that contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. When authorities searched his home, they found other indications that Franzen was selling drugs. 

“Inside his bedroom they found cocaine, more than 100 additional grams of marijuana, along with items that are known to be evidence of drug dealing,” the statement said. “These items include a digital 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.”

The investigation had started when postal workers because suspicious about packages being delivered to Franzen’s home. This led them to obtain a search warrant, and ultimately to get law enforcement involved. 

“Evidence from state and federal investigators shows that he has purchased and sold marijuana products across North America,” the statement read. “In addition to the evidence found in his home, we also have evidence that he had received multiple packages that raised the suspicion of postal inspectors prior to his receiving the package that led to his arrest.”

Despite the strong evidence, the prosecution was delayed because Franzen has testicular cancer. 

“As he delayed this prosecution for more than 5 years asserting that his medical condition was preventing him from sitting through a trial and from serving a term in prison, we asked for but never received independent verification that this was true,” McMahon said in the statement. “In fact, Mr. Franzen’s own physician stated that Franzen’s medical condition would not prevent him from sitting through his trial.”

Franzen’s lawyer also suggested that the chocolate was for personal medical use, but the state rejected that argument. 

“The marijuana-laced product found at Mr. Franzen’s home was not purchased from a medical marijuana business, and the amount he purchased far exceeds what would be used for personal consumption and is evidence that he is a drug dealer,” McMahon said. 

Franzen ultimately pled guilty to unlawful possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis, a class 1 felony, and was sentenced to four years in prison. He is eligible for Illinois’ day-for-day credit, which will cut his time in half. 

"He got the best disposition that was available given the constraints of Illinois law," Franzen’s lawyer David Camic told CNN.

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.