Lance Mackey misses court appearance

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Iditarod champion Lance Mackey was due in court Friday on a minor marijuana possession charge, according to an online court records database, but was instead racing in the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

A spokesman for Mackey told the Anchorage Daily News the musher thought the court date was later this month.

Mackey is a throat cancer survivor who carries a medical marijuana card. He has acknowledged using marijuana on the Iditarod, the 1,100-mile race between Anchorage and Nome.

On Jan. 13, he was found with 7.8 grams of marijuana at the Anchorage airport as he boarded a flight, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Mackey told a a state airport security officer that he had a medical marijuana card in his checked baggage, but the card had expired, said Transportation Department spokesman Roger Wetherell. Also, the card was for a different form of the drug than what Mackey was carrying, Wetherell said.

Mackey was charged with sixth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance and allowed to continue to Bethel.

He was originally scheduled to appear in court Feb. 17, according to court records. Earlier this month the appearance date was changed to last Friday.

Mackey thought the court appearance was not until Feb. 23, a time he planned on being in Anchorage, said Theresa Daily, who handles public relations for Mackey and other mushers.

"They prescribed the pill form for him, and he's trying that," Daily said. "He's quit everything right now just to be on the good, up and up with Iditarod."

Mackey has won the Iditarod three years in a row. Organizers this year plan to give mushers a drug test.

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