Tom Franzen

A 37-year-old cancer patient is sent to jail for holding 42 pounds of THC chocolates mailed to his Montgomery home.

Anissa Leifheit, of Montgomery, said: “He should not pay for a marijuana charge with his life”.

The review board heard to Leifheit and lawyer David Camic’s testimony during an executive clemency hearing for 37-year-old Tom Franzen. He has been in prison for nearly four months.

Franzen requested Gov. J.B. Pritzker for a release or to have his sentence reduced so he can receive medical treatment at home for cancer he was diagnosed with. Board officials said they would consider the case and make a confidential recommendation to the governor’s department.

Camic replied, “Now that we are legalising cannabis, I expect that’s something you folks will be dealing with for a long time”.

Franzen has been facing multiple forms of cancer since high school and was using the drugs to self-medicate, Camic previously said. While in jail, Franzen had endured symptoms similar to when his cancer was forming, Leifheit said. Franzen is not receiving the medical care that he was insured. And has dropped 30 pounds of weight during his time in prison.

Franzen’s fight with cancer has been continuing with various periods of remission. He was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer that metastasised to his abdomen. Both lungs, around his aorta and a vocal cord.

Leifheit said her family’s biggest fear was that when Franzen was doomed to prison, his health would fall rapidly and cause severe damage without proper supervision.

Pieces of evidence

Authorities signalled suspicious parcels delivered to Franzen. On Valentine’s Day 2014, he was arrested after authorities obtained a search warrant and waited for him to open the package containing the THC-infused chocolate.

Kane County prosecutors claimed that Franzen was a drug dealer. Police recovered 25 grams of presumed cocaine, 102 grams of marijuana and hash oil. Along with records, they believed were related to drug sales through research of his home.

Camic has said Franzen had ledgers because he was working as an authorised E-Bay reseller for consumer goods such as shoes, art and sports merchandise.

Franzen is visiting at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill. His projected parole date is June 7, 2021. Camic said, “We want him not just to survive prison, but to survive life”.