TV personality faces drug charges


        Grimes, Ia. -- A former independent candidate for govemor who advocated the legalization of marijuana was apparently growing the illegal plants in his own home, police said Friday.
        Acting on a tip, Urbandale police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department went to the Grimes home of Mark Kennis about 2:30 p.m. Friday.   There, police allegedly found Kennis and four other adults in the living room, smoking manjuana in the presence of a 15-year-old.
        Urbandale police Sgt. Jim Button said all five adults were arrested.  Authorities then searched the home and found apparent marijuana-growing equipment, plus about a quarter-pound of processed marijuana.
        Kennis, 51, also is host and producer of "Big People News," a show on public access Channel 15 that focuses on perceived discrimination against large people.  When he ran for governor last year, he received 1,760 votes to come in fifth place.  In his campaign, he advocated letting farmers grow marijuana as a cash crop.
        Kennis and his son, David M. Kennis, 24, both face several charges, including manufacturing marijuana and distributing it to a minor.   Dan L. Patterson, 24, of Grimes, and Chris E. Varnado, 29, and Tracey M. Varnado, 26, both of 618 E. Euclid Ave., Des Moines, were charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana to a minor.

The Des Moines Register
Saturday, 20 March 1999, Page 1M
Post Office Box 957
Des Moines, Iowa 50304
515-284-8065 News
515-286-2511 Fax

Lynn Okamoto