Shona Banda faces 17 years in prison for treating Crohn's Disease with medical marijuana in Kansas.
Shona Banda was arrested and had her son taken away after he spoke up to a DARE officer at school
, telling the officer that medical marijuana was beneficial. His mother is a medical marijuana advocate who says cannabis oil saved her life after numerous surgeries and years of suffering from Crohn's disease.
Two months after her initial arrest, she has officially been charged:
According to the Finney County Attorney’s Office, Banda was charged last week with five counts, including manufacturing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment. Three of the five charges are felonies.
As if the state taking her son weren't enough, she faces a long prison sentence if convicted:
Now, Banda could face up to 17 years in prison for doing so, in a case that has medical marijuana advocates enraged and legislators from both parties saying it is past time to re-examine the state’s drug laws.
In an interview with Truth In Media
, Banda is dismayed she's being charged for treating her disease:
“I started this whole process because I wanted to live and grow and be with my children. I just want to live and survive with my kids and raise my children and live long enough to see grandchildren. It’s an inalienable right to live and I shouldn’t be punished for pursuing that… I shouldn’t be prosecuted for that,” said Banda. She continued, “The people of Kansas want [medical marijuana] available to them. It makes no sense to me that people’s lives in Colorado are more important than people’s lives in Kansas. How is this the United States of America when your life means more if you’re in California, Washington, Colorado, than when you’re in Kansas or Oklahoma or Texas?”
At a time when the rest of the country is either easing marijuana laws or outright legalizing and decriminalizing, Kansas officials seem to be doubling down. Even the people of Kansas want to see marijuana laws relaxed. In April 2015, the voters of Wichita voted to decriminalize marijuana
(it was quickly nullified by the Kansas Attorney General)
and recent polling shows that a whopping 63% of Kansans want to see marijuana decriminalized.
How are the charges against Shona Banda serving the community? How can they justify breaking up this family and sending Shona Banda to prison?
As someone who grew up in Kansas, I'm saddened that Kansas officials seem to be finding new ways to embarrass the state each and every day.