As a marijuana advocat, there has never been a better time to live in America—with five fully-legal states, and all but 12 states with medical marijuana laws, the tides are a changin’. However, Kansas is not one of these states and marijuana or paraphernalia possession can carry a hefty fine and years in prison.
Kansas’ marijuana policy has been in the news recently as Shona Banda’s case has been attracting eyes across the country. Banda lost her child and freedom because she used cannabis oil to help manage her fight with Crohn’s disease. Here are 10 facts about this heart-wrenching case that has gained international attention.
1. Banda’s son sticks up for his mom.
During a drug education class, Banda’s 11-year-old son voiced what he understood to be the benefits of marijuana due to his mother’s Crohn’s disease. This, of course, wasn’t welcomed by the school or teacher and child protective services were called.
2. Patient turned advocate.
Banda is an outspoken marijuana advocate who has had 17 surgeries to combat her disease. During this time, she was prescribed multiple drugs that had little effect on her well-being. Since trying cannabis, she has been able to walk back from the brink of death and lead a relatively normal life.
3. Police keep Shona from entering her home.
The above video shows the police stopping Shona from entering her home while she tries to understand what the police and child services are doing there. After obtaining a search warrant, police find marijuana and paraphernalia inside the house and the child is taken into custody.
4. Kanas makes an example of Banda.
The state of Kansas charged Banda with five felonies including possession of marijuana, intent to distribute, manufacturing cannabis oil, two counts of drug paraphernalia and one count of child endangerment.
5. Death sentence.
According to Banda’s attorney, she could face up to 30 years in prison for these charges—basically a death sentence for anyone with preexisting Crohn’s disease. Despite this, Shona agreed to turn herself in on June 15th. She has posted bail and is now awaiting trial.
6. The online community rallies to support Banda.
Banda has crowd funded almost $45,000 to cover legal fees and there has been overwhelming international support from the online community through social media initiatives and petitions.
7. “I can’t believe I am facing 30 years in prison for trying to save my life.”
This mother has not been with her child since March and has stopped using cannabis in hopes of being reunited. However, Banda has been losing weight again and an infection has begun rotting the inside of her mouth. She states, “I can’t believe I am facing 30 years in prison for trying to save my life.”
8. Hypocrisy at its finest.
The United States federal government has had a patent for the medical use of marijuana since 2003, which states that marijuana is useful in combatting multiple ailments. Despite the decade-old patent, the U.S. government states that marijuana holds no medicinal value, currently maintaining its Schedule 1 status. This has put Banda in a tricky situation between saving her life and obeying state and federal law.
9. Rick Simpson shows support.
Rick Simpson, known by many as the founder of cannabis oil, has made a video which outlines the right of jury nullification to those chosen as jurors on a medical marijuana case. He pleads specifically to those in Banda’s case.
10. Is progress coming fast enough?
According to the Kansas City Sun, a medical marijuana bill is making its way through Kansas legislature. This is doubtful to impact Banda’s case, but reform will allow for medical patients to use cannabis oil for specific ailments. Regardless, it isn’t right that Shona Banda remains locked up, during which time she could possibly die from disease, all while waiting for a common sense policy.
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