Shona Banda: The Latest Victim of Mean-Spirited Bureaucrats

Shona Banda suffers from Crohn’s disease, and has found, as have many Crohn’s sufferers, that medical marijuana provides her with effective relief and allows her to manage her illness and live a somewhat normal life. Specifically, Banda uses cannabis oil.

The problem is she lives in, Garden City, Kansas, a state that does not yet recognize the medical uses of marijuana. And when her 11-year old son spoke up in his drug education class to challenge some of the anti-marijuana allegations being taught to the children – and shared the fact that his mother uses cannabis to manage her Crohn’s disease – Banda’s son was removed from her custody by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Her home was subsequently raided, and Banda is now facing three drug felonies (possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000-feet of a school; endangering a child; and unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance) for the cannabis oil found in her home, and she faces a possible jail term in excess of 30-years. Banda first used cannabis oil to manage her disease when she lived in Colorado for a period of time, before returning to her home in Kansas.

Banda is being represented by attorney Sarah Swain, who publicly has promised an aggressive defense that will challenge every facet of the prosecution’s case, including the questioning of the 11-year-old son without either of his parents present; the search warrant issued for their home based on that questioning; and the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance with no medical usefulness.

This case is just the latest from states around the country that illustrate the incredibly harsh and unjustified consequences of marijuana prohibition, the unsustainable differences in the manner in which we treat our most vulnerable citizens from one state to another, and the absolute moral impairative that we stop treating seriously ill patients as criminals, regardless of where they may call home.

Surely this immediate situation could have been handled by reasonable people in a manner based on compassion and concern for the welfare of this serious ill mother, striving to find a way to lead a full life and raise her young son. The school could have exercised some discretion and common sense and accepted the comments made by her young son as reflecting the reality of his and his mother’s life, and this would not have become a matter of public concern. And the Garden City police should not have questioned the young child without his parent’s consent, and did not have to seek a questionable search warrant, based on the child’s statements, to invade Banda’s home and violate her privacy. And finally, the local prosecutor, Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier, with even a wit of compassion and understanding, could have exercised her discretion and refused to file criminal charges, bringing this embarrassing episode to a close, and allowing this seriously ill woman a chance to live a normal life.

But at each level, the civic institutions in Kansas failed their responsibility to serve the best interests of the citizens of Kansas, ignoring the obviously compelling factual situation, and blindly pursuing the war on drugs, despite the horrendous repercussions of that choice.

Rather they have reminded us of the enduring harm caused by marijuana prohibition, and the damage it has done not just to the victims of this misguided war, but also to those in civic positions of trust who have lost their moral compass in their blind support for prohibition.

Shame on everyone who had anything to do with allowing this case to get to this point, and who failed to stand up and publicly question the appropriateness of this entire witch-hunt. These are people who are either incredibly ignorant of the important and sometimes life-altering benefits medical marijuana provides to tens of thousands of seriously ill patients across this country (37 states now permit at least limited medical use of marijuana), or they are truly mean-spirited people who simply do not care.

Regardless, it reminds me of how much work we still have ahead of us, and why I would never wish to live in rural Kansas.

45 thoughts

  1. Another fine example of how law enforcement and politicians are a bunch of drama queens. Their ability to create a completely overblown crisis in the face of nothing is disgusting behavior for an adult. This women’s son was in no physical danger. Most likely he had a better mother and parent. 30 years for cannabis oil? Over a substance that improves ones quality of life and hasn’t killed anyone? When will these idiots finally go away?

  2. Keith,
    You mean “whit of knowledge…,” but the young son & student was right, having seen his Mom’s condition improve from her medicine – & the PTB can’t be challenged by a mere child. Same thing holding up de-scheduling – when they are forced to acknowledge medical efficacy, it’s a whole new ball game, with reparations in order.
    Oooo – can’t have that!

  3. Apparently, the civic institutions in Kansas are led by people with little or no compassion and quite a bit less commonsense than your average stoner!

    Maybe they should lay off the booze and ciggies! Maybe they should be replaced by real people instead of corporate stooges…

  4. how can Swain question federal law in state court?

    Shona is one more of the over 20 million arrested for violating the marijuana laws and deprived of her privacy, life, liberty and property without a compelling state interst, without due process of law by state police power.

  5. Sometimes I wish that a serial killer would start targeting prohibitionists; the kind that go out of their way to make our lives difficult or impossible. Seriously, instead of killing good innocent people, take out a few dirtbags instead.

    Unfortunately I am a peaceful cannabis user and would never do such a thing, but I can fantasize and hope that someone else would do this dirty work. You’d be doing most of the world a big favor.

  6. Sounds like Kansas is keeping up with their dark heritage with prohibition.

  7. I wonder if they would have made such a big stink about it if it had been about alcohol. I was busted in Kansas for possession with intent to sell within a thousand feet of a school, a Class B felony. Fortunately, I had smoked pot with the judge 20 yrs earlier and was given 3 yrs probation just to satisfy the Sheriff and County attorney. I hope with all my heart she is given a light sentence with no jail time, or the case is dropped, as it should be. Good Luck Shona Banda.

  8. I live in Kansas and something has got to change with the mideval justice system here. Is sas enough that this woman has to battle serious health problems. Now she has a legal battle to go with it! Great job Kansas! Keep up the great work!!

    What do we expect though in a state that elected and the RE-ELECTED $am “Koch-Boy” Brownback.

  9. I live in Kansas and something has got to change with the mideval justice system here. Is sas enough that this woman has to battle serious health problems. Now she has a legal battle to go with it! Great job Kansas! Keep up the great work!!

    What do we expect though in a state that elected and the RE-ELECTED $am “Koch-Boy” Brownback.

  10. That poor woman and her little boy. What ever they do to her he is going to feel that its all his fault. The powers that be should think about that before they do anything else. Just a few miles west of Garden City and she would have been safe. What a shame.

  11. I feel so sorry for this family. It is so tragic. I pray for them every day. I believe they have a strong case against the prosecutors (the people conducting the witch hunt). Did we go back in time? Are we experiencing some McCarthyism. Many of us are getting caught up in the teeth of the dying drug war. It seems to be getting worse because of the partial legalization. Part is the momentum of the medical cannabis knowledge making its way out to people who are sick and they want the medicine. This intern creates the conflict. People who use this medicine are often thrown in jail and their families are busted up. Shame on the greedy government. They have no compassion for anything except profit.

  12. The synergetic effect of marijuana for Chrone’s Disease stimulates receptors in the intestines that receive CB2, which tells our intestines to absorb nutrients and function in general for diestion. People with Chrone’s disease, like my nephew and two nieces, lack the production of CB2 which cannabis simulates to perfection.
    As a result, without enough CB2, people with Chrone ‘s disease suffer from internal bleeding, indigestion, loss of appetite, inflammation of the bowels, lack of nutrition, diarrhea, and if they choose the best, most effective treatment for their symptoms, marijuana, they can be separated from their loved ones, incarcerated, and prohibited from their preferred medicine. Oh, and apparently this can all occur without a valid warrant, without due process, and asset forfeitures could even liquidate your home.

    Let our failed drug policies be exposed so they may never occur again.

  13. Keith,
    You mean “whit of compassion…,” but the son and student was correct that his Mom got relief from her medicine. The PTB can’t be challenged by a mere child. Same problem with descheduling – as soon as they are forced to acknowledge medical efficacy it’s a whole new ball game, with reparations entering the discussion.

  14. Having seen three dear relatives die much too young from complications of Crohn’s Disease, or the current legal medicines being used to treat it, I beg that you offer your full support to Shona in every aspect of her fight. This is clearly a case of the illness necessitating the medication, and the laws on the medication being much too harsh and without genuine science.
    People should not die because of the fear of an imagined green menace!
    It is time to bring our laws into the 21st century.

  15. When ever our system’s people (the Executives) have a choice to follow the whole law (the First and Fourth Amendments in this case) they don’t and no one holds them responsible. When are we going to start applying the Constitution of the United States of America to marijuana cases?

  16. I grew up in Western KS 50 miles West of Garden City and this is just another example of the narrow mindedness that led me to New York, at least some of us celebrate diversity here. Kansas has been known for its extremist views, Carrie Nation, John Brown (another New Yorker) I guess they will continue to cling to their narrow view of the world.

  17. When you really think about it, all that they are arresting you for, is dried plant matter.
    It is absolutely ridiculous that people are jailed over dried plant matter. There’s murderers on the streets, because some jails found them fit. Fit? Some are getting out before drug offenders. It goes for many other crimes as well, some are let out earlier then simple drug offenders. Why are we treating nature like some sort of vicious villain?

    How haven’t we grown yet beyond these ridiculous lies, which are law? This law is based around lies and myths, which no doctor in their right minds can deny. Good Honest Doctors Know Its Benefits. It is time to grow.
    We aren’t growing, if we can not move past ridiculous laws, which are not necessary. No. It’s just about placing some in their place. “If you step out of our line, we’ll fix you up real good.”

    I think people understand.
    I just wish, things would be changing a little faster. It seems, there’s still too many up tight people, on this issue. I guess that’s the whole point though to NORML, correct education on Marijuana (Cannabis).

    Anyways, the laws need to change, that’s just all there is to it.

    Legalization Is Coming.

  18. I’m 62 and at 19 someone told me , “It’s not the crime you do it’s where you do it”. Follow the $, it always proves true! Sad that every things based on that. Instead of the goodness in all our hearts. Keep smoking!

  19. “why I would never wish to live in rural Kansas.”

    I live in Virginia and it’s not much better here. Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere besides America considering what today’s elite have turned our once great country into… Bastards!

    It is really sad that the powers that be in Kansas would even consider locking up Shona. It is just incredibly stupid, shows a complete lack of compassion and understanding, and displays what I would call a Nazi mentality (Nazi’s want to destroy anyone who is not like themselves – even if those they are trying to destroy are demonstrably better than themselves).

    As much as I would like to live peaceably and always carry love in my heart for my fellow humans, when I read about the kind of people running things in Kansas, I find myself feeling quite a bit of hate and anger.

    Garden City – Indeed!

  20. I am also sick and need the same as this lady I also have what she has plus more, and if I don’t have this for my medication I will die cause I can’t eat with out it I am in so much pain and don’t take pain pills nor do I take other medications because of side effects. With cannabis I have no side effects and I can move with out pain pills that kill this needs to stop and make it legal period, it’s not a dam drug it’s a herb. And the ones against it I hope you get cancer and you beg for this so you can live and eat without sickness. They just want you to buy there drugs so they can make money and get you addicted to there medication.its all a money rack

  21. @Miles:
    Racism and discrimination of the infirmed are economic. The blind, greedy motivation of too many prosecutors in this nation has been fueled by civil asset forfeitures, protected by both the Federal C.S.Act and bad state laws from which the very same prosecutors, elected officials, judges and state Attorney Generals benefit.

    Shona has to countersue in a Federal Court. Get your case OUT of Kansas! The whole state has been purchased by asset forfeitures without due process!

  22. I did a little Googling and found the Government has a patent: US6630507 B1, named Cannabinoids as antioxidant and neuroprotectants. Just to quote a tiny bit of the Abstract, “useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” I have a rare autoimmune disease, I live in MD, and have been sick for almost 11 years now. I’ve gotten to the point where, even though I take several medications everyday, I still deal with debilitating pain everyday. I have two very active boys. In my state, they have decriminalized Marijuana, yet when I ask my pain doctors to let me try Marinol, several of them have treated me like I was asking them to give me something illegal! I am so tired of the games the Government and Big Pharma are playing with our lives!

  23. @Julian – I wonder if those greedy POS’s realize that they are destroying this country or would even care if they did…

    I’m so pissed off that America has become a place for greedy liars and racism to thrive. This couldn’t happen without the overwhelming support of our Federal Govt!

  24. Every time a person’s rights are violated whether it’s racist or medically discriminatory propaganda that persists we hear our leaders talk all around the subject with symbols and ideology but never do we hear a serious discussion about civil asset forfeitures and the loss of due process.

    Discrimination, racism and terrorism are always about the spread of legalized propaganda for the acquisition of property.

    Until we recognize these bad laws like the C.S.Act for what they are… Bad, terrorizingly unconstitutional laws, we will never have a serious debate about ending racial socioeconomic violence in our country.

  25. What is it about those ultra conservative states ? Do they actually think they change the world, while incarcerating this poor woman into the grave, by denying her the very thing that is keeping her alive. They’re hurting the kids by splitting the family up. They want to use her to frighten other people. It’s like witch burning.

  26. By reforming the federal definition of marijuana at the federal level to this simple and direct statement of fact, Ms. Banda could have her medicine, and her son, at her home.

    16. The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    She should contact her Congressman to call for this reform.

  27. They need to undo what they’ve done to Shona. Period!

    If her son had stood up and said that she was using aspirin, nothing like this shit would have happened. There is such a thing as an aspirin overdose, two different kinds acute and chronic.

    Sabet’s and that report that the FDA wouldn’t approve of and most of the states’ approved use of MMJ are not effective, and Sabet is talking some shit about MMJ being reserved for legal use only by terminally ill patients with 6 months or less to live. WTF? Sabet, just piss off!

    Just face it, your ilk has had decades to do the research, but you held it up because people also just like to get high. Get used to it. Getting high isn’t going anywhere. You can’t arrest your way out of the problem you prohibitionists have with it. States are continuing to legalize cannabis for both medical and adult recreational, not to mention industrial hemp. You prohibitionists have lost, so stop wasting money stretching out prohibition as long as you possibly can.

    Just remove cannabis from the Schedule altogether now!

  28. Jury nullification and no plea deals will force the injustice into the limelight. Kansas has no compassion for patient suffering. At our hearings this year, the senator running the public hearing entered the room flanked by state patrolpersons armed to the teeth because she feared a room full of stoners. Shame on Kansas for stealing children under the guise of their protection.

  29. “and Sabet is talking some shit about MMJ being reserved for legal use only by terminally ill patients with 6 months or less to live.”

    He is dyslexic. Again, this is a rule that should be applied to heroin type drugs. It doesn’t matter if someone becomes an addict if they only have a little time left. I’m sick of hearing from “experts” that don’t know shit about jack squat when it comes to marijuana.

  30. Stuff like this is simply amazingly moronic. I find it hard to believe that a State of the United States would even think of doing this do one of their citizens. It makes me wonder about the people of that state. I will never go to Kansas. Why should I? They hate people there

  31. For victims, like Shona, it becomes increasingly difficult to abide by state-to-state laws when she suffers with a medical condition. Right now, there are a little under half of the states that recognize the medical use of marijuana. In Florida, similar to Kansas, legislature has repeatedly denied the use of medical marijuana, so those who are found possessing marijuana face felony charges. Innocent people are being faced with jail time because of their medical conditions; therefore it is important to bring awareness to this issue so we can even out the playing field among all the states across the country.

  32. Hanlonlaw, who doesn’t already know this??? If you don’t know marijuana is medicine or at least medically useful, then you’re a fucking idiot at this point in our history.

  33. The Federal Government sponsors this type of fascism. In Florida we had a 58% vote yes on legalizing medical marijuana. The Republicans changed the law so we needed 60%. Fascism has many faces. My Medicare Managed Health Plan only pays for opiates to relieve pain. Nothing else. I hate opiates. But if I try what this woman did in Kansas I would face stiffer penalties here. One plant is a felony. We need to stop this state sponsored terrorism and fascism.

  34. I also suffer from crohns and treat it aswell w/ ganja, and will not change that, 20+ years of medications didn’t do anything but leave me w/ an illeostomy and a beaten up body. My state has yet to recognize the benefits of it, but is close to positive results. It’s ridiculous this person and there child has been put through this bs. And the fact the child is of that age and would back up his mother and the subject, much respect!

  35. In the case of Shona Banda (watch her cell phone footage) it was illegal search and seizure – they seized her HOUSE! They did this before a warrant was obtained or presented! The authorities involved are guilty of treason as the suspicion is high (read your Constitution) that is punishable similarly to murder. It is high time we push HARD for equal protection of the law before unlawful law enforcement crushes us under into a super tyrannical state! They are also guilty of kidnapping as we find in the law book Black citing federal law (all federal laws supersede state statute) the “parent is presumed to be a fit and natural parent”

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