Last month, Kansas mother Shona Banda made headlines when her son was removed from her custody after he defended her use of medical marijuana to treat Crohn’s Disease. He had spoken up about her use at an anti-drug presentation at his school. This prompted the school to call to Child Protective Services and authorities, which led to a raid on her home on March 24.
The raid found what local Garden City authorities described as “‘1.25 pounds of marijuana in plant, oil, joint, gel and capsule form and drug paraphernalia’ along with what was characterized as a ‘lab used for manufacturing cannabis oil’” (it should be noted that at the time, the Washington Post reported police found just 2 ounces of cannabis oil). Banda has seen her eleven-year-old son only once since he was taken from her.
Last week, Finney County charged her with five offenses related to marijuana, three of which are felonies. They include “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.”
Banda disputes the charges. As she told Truth in Media,
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. There was no endangerment of a child, for one. For two, this plant is the most non-toxic substance on the planet, so, it’s safer to have around my house than aspirin. So the child endangerment charges I [cannot] believe.”
Further, she argued that
“They’re trying to say that it’s 1,000 feet from a school. I’m several blocks away from a school. I sure would like to challenge that.”
Banda is an outspoken cannabis user who has made Youtube videos and written a book promoting the treatment. Last year, Truth in Media reported on her innovative and inexpensive method to extract cannabis oil for medicinal use.
She says that contrary to the charge of child endangerment, her use of cannabis has actually made her a better mother:
“I spent years raising my children from a couch, not being able to move much…I wasn’t able to be a proper mother when I was sick. And now I’m a fantastic mother.”
She only tried cannabis oil after trying conventional medical treatments and being informed that her Crohn’s disease was terminal. Since her current ordeal with the government began, she has ceased treatment and says she has lost weight and sustained an infection in the roof of her mouth.
Banda faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and the long-term removal of her son from her custody. She is expected to turn herself in to authorities on June 15. “I do believe that they’re trying to make an example out of me,” Banda said.
Multiple petitions have secured over 130,000 signatures calling for the rescindment of charges against her.
“I’m very afraid…I cannot believe that I could be facing 30 years in prison for trying to save my life,” she said of the charges against her.