Fredonia man arrested after growing cannabis to control seizures


FREDONIA, Kan. (KSNW) – There are questions about a marijuana bust in southeast Kansas after a man is facing several felony charges related to his use of cannabis oil.

Larry Burgess says he knows it’s illegal to use marijuana or any of its byproducts in Kansas, but says it’s the only thing that keeps him from debilitating seizures.

Burgess, who lives in Fredonia in Wilson County, was preparing dinner for his family Tuesday evening when his home became surrounded by Wilson County Sheriff’s deputies with weapons drawn, he says.

“They seized my cannabis medication and other items I had here for the cannabis use,” said Burgess.

Burgess said he had one plant at his home. He extracted the oil from the plant and put it into capsules to treat his non-epileptic seizures. He said without it, his seizures quickly returned as they did when he was taken into custody.

“I had two seizures, the first one they took me to the hospital, the second one the following morning,” Burgess said, “I wasn’t able to get any medical help for my seizure. It was pretty scary to be honest.”

Burgess has no prior run-ins with the law beyond speeding tickets. He and his wife, Shannon, know the drug is illegal in Kansas, and they knew they were taking a risk.

“It was a chance decision that we took as a family and we were willing to take the chances so I could live a productive life,” Burgess said.

The couple had been going to Colorado every three to four months to medicate Burgess, and said they planned to move there when their son is done with high school, which won’t be possible if Burgess is put on probation for his felony charges. But, they decided to grow the marijuana plant at home when the trips became too expensive.

“Instead of trying to deal with unsavory characters or actual criminals, I decided to start making it myself,” Burgess said.

The couple say they were honest with the community, but now admit that may have led to the arrest.

“No matter what happens, I will have this on my record and will be considered a criminal,” said Burgess.

Burgess heads to court next Thursday to face six counts, including possession and manufacture of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of paraphernalia.

He says while not using cannabis, he can have two to three seizures per day. With the cannabis oil, seizures are limited to two to three per week.

KSN reached out to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office about the case and was told, “It is still under investigation. There will be no further comment at this time.”

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