April 21, 2015

Kansas Activist Could Face Felony Charges Because Her 11-Year-Old Son Challenged Anti-Pot Propaganda

  Shona Banda, a Kansas medical marijuana activist, faces a hearing at which she will try to stop the state from kidnapping her 11-year-old son. She may also soon face criminal charges that could send her to prison. All because her son dared to question the anti-pot propaganda dispensed by his school.
On March 24, Banda's son spoke up during a "drug education" lesson presented by school counselors, questioning some of their statements about marijuana. Banda, whose story was first reported by The Human Solution International (THSI), a support group for medical marijuana patients, told Ben Swann her son mentioned that she calls the plant "cannabis" and "he let them know how educated he was on the facts." That small act of skepticism resulted in a trip to the principal's office and a call to Child Protective Services, which contacted the police. Banda says her son was questioned "for hours," unbeknownst to her.
It's not clear what information was gleaned from that interrogation, but evidently a judge thought it was enough for a warrant to search Banda's home. Banda says police initially tried to get her consent for a search around 3 p.m. on March 24, then came back with a warrant three hours later. THSI says they found two ounces of marijuana and one ounce of cannabis oil, which Banda uses to relieve the symptoms of Crohn's disease. So far she has not been charged, but at a hearing on March 27 a family court judge awarded temporary custody to her ex-husband, noting that she could face felony charges. Banda worries that the state will try to put her son into foster care by arguing that neither she nor her ex-husband can provide a suitable home.
As the possibility of felony charges suggests, marijuana penalties in Kansas are pretty harsh. Possessing any amount of marijuana (for any purpose) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. A subsequent offense is a felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 months and a maximum of three and a half years. Cultivation of five or more plants is a felony punishable by 12 to 17 years in prison. Manufacturing a controlled substance, which might include production of cannabis oil from marijuana, is also a "drug severity level 1 felony," punishable by a prison sentence as long as 17 years.

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