Shona Banda, Kansas mom, is fighting back for her right to use medicinal marijuana after her arrest

While those of us in the Illinois cannabis community are celebrating the rolling out of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, a woman in Kansas, Shona Banda, is suffering greatly because she just happens to live in a state where marijuana cannabis is illegal. In fact, she is being depicted as a criminal when she is merely trying to save her own life in order to parent her children. Is that too much to ask?

Shona Banda, now at the center of a civil rights cause; the right to use medical cannabis

Shona Banda, now at the center of a civil rights cause; the right to use medical cannabis

Shona lives in Garden City, Kansas, and is the single mother of 2 sons and a massage therapist, just quietly trying to make a living and raise her children. This past March, her life changed forever. She has been thrust into the limelight as a cannabis activist and finds herself center stage in one of the most important civil rights cases regarding cannabis use. She is alive today because she uses cannabis oil to control the debilitating symptoms of Crohn's disease, a horribly painful, chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the digestive tract. If you wish to know more about this condition, click this link.

She lived briefly in Colorado, her neighboring state, where she discovered that cannabis oil controlled her disease without any adverse side effects. In fact, she has been doing so well with the treatment that she is able to work and parent her 11 year old son, something she was unable to do 5 years ago. This woman is not sitting on her sofa, getting high and collecting unemployment, she is treating her condition with medicine. She is no longer taking pharmaceuticals that not only did not help her, but actually made her sicker; she almost died on multiple occasions. Her son knew about her cannabis use as they had discussed it. Unfortunately for both of them, her son was being fed lies in school about cannabis during a D.A.R.E. presentation and he decided to correct the presenter. This led to the admission that his mom used cannabis oil.

He was immediately sent to the principal's office where he was then removed from his mother's home by Kansas Protective Services. He was first sent to live with his father and then soon after ended up in protective services for 4 months. A warrant was issued to search Shona's home. Marijuana, cannabis oil and marijuana "paraphenalia" were found and Shona Banda was arrested and put in jail with the possibility of a 30 year sentence, if convicted. Her indictment includes possession of marijuana, intent to distribute, manufacturing cannabis oil, 2 counts of drug paraphenalia and 1 count of child endangerment. If you know anything about making cannabis oil, it requires a lot of cannabis plants to make sufficient oil to control her symptoms. Sadly and ironically, she lives very close to the border of Colorado, but she chose not to become a "marijuana refugee."

Shona Banda's book

Shona Banda's book

Prior to her arrest, she wrote a book "Live Free or Die" which chronicled her health problems with pharmaceuticals and her discovery of life saving cannabis oil. Many people who are still alive today credit Shona Banda's book and recipe for cannabis oil with saving their lives. She has decided enough is enough. She is willing to be the person who stands up for the right to use cannabis, no matter the consequences. But, she is paying a very heavy price.

Her bail was set at $50,000 while awaiting trial. With the help of a GoFundMe account which had been set up on her behalf to pay for her legal costs, she was able to post bail. She is being represented by Sarah Swain, a Kansas based attorney who has never litigated a cannabis case. However, she has a personal connection; she is the daughter of a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD. Cannabis is the only medicine that has brought him any relief. According to Sarah, this is not only about Shona Banda, it is about changing the laws for every person in this country who wants safe access to cannabis. She wants to change the federal law rather than leaving the decision to each individual state's legislators. She also wants to reschedule marijuana from Schedule 1 on the Controlled Substance Act to at least Schedule 2. This will allow research with human trials rather than on mice, only.

Shona Banda talking to the media at her preliminary trial

Shona Banda talking to the media at her preliminary trial

Her preliminary trial took place early this week. The good news is that her Child in Need of Care (CINC) case has been resolved and she has her son back. The bad news is that she ultimately waived her rights to a preliminary hearing because she chose her son over herself. She was portrayed to be hiding her son so that he didn't have to take the witness stand. But, her son was living with her ex-husband who ignored a subpoena to bring his son to court. The judge wanted to call her young son to testify against her. In order to save her child further trauma, being cross-examined on the witness stand, she agreed to waive her right to the rest of the preliminary trial, which would have forced the prosecution to divulge the evidence they hold against her, a due process in the court of law. But, her son was pulled out of school and brought to the courtroom after the decision to waive her preliminary hearing was made in the judge's chambers while the court awaited the judge.

She is out on bond, but she is not using cannabis oil as she doesn't want to incur any further criminal charges. As a result, her health has deteriorated; due to her illness, with no access to medicine and to the stress of the trial. She has lost a lot of weight and is barely hanging on. For her, this is life threatening. She is scheduled to be arraigned in January.

Her attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against the Garden City police department, the school district, the state of Kansas and the Department of Children and Family Services for her right to use medical cannabis and to regain full custody of her son.

Please donate to her Gofundme, https://www.gofundme.com/supportshona, and please share this post in order to raise awareness about Shona Banda's plight. No one should die because of her zipcode. Thanks so much for your support.

I've written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the "Medical Marijuana" tag at the top of my page.

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