Shona Banda, 37, lost custody of her 11-year-old son (at least temporarily) in late March after the boy stood up for the medical benefits of cannabis oil during an anti-drug class at school. The AP reported Monday that Banda did not get custody of her son back after a hearing in Finney County District Court.
Banda is a well-known activist for cannabis oil and survivor of Crohn's disease. Her son was detained by police after defending cannabis in school. The police then conducted a raid on Banda's home, where they reportedly found two ounces of cannabis and one ounce of cannabis oil.
Not only does Banda face the possibility of permanently losing custody of her son, but prosecutors may pursue felony charges against her, including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child endangerment.
"Banda, a motivational speaker and author on the medical marijuana issue, has been at the center of a social media storm after she went public with her story. Several supporters rallied Monday at a park near the courthouse. "It is a hot topic all across the United States," Ralston said of the social media attention. "It doesn't surprise me." Banda is the author of a book "Live Free or Die: Reclaim your Life . . . Reclaim your Country!" that recounts her use of a concentrated cannabis oil to treat Crohn's Disease. A gag order has since been issued in the custody case, Banda said. Her attorney, Sarah Swain, did not respond to a phone message left at her office." - AP, April 20, 2015
If this case sounds strange, it's because it is. The website, Kansas Exposed, reported Friday that police shut down Banda's Facebook page because she was using her social media accounts to raise money for a legal defense. Vocativ also reported this over the weekend.
Independent investigative journalist Ben Swann's website began following the story when Banda went public. The site posted a video Monday that shows police officers blocking Banda from entering her home, reportedly without a warrant.
BenSwann.com also obtained an exclusive interview with Banda last week:
"After her son spoke out about medical marijuana, he was detained, and police launched a raid on Shona Banda’s home. “Well, they had that drug education class at school that was just conducted by the counselors… They pulled my son out of school at about 1:40 in the afternoon and interrogated him. Police showed up at my house at 3… I let them know that they weren’t allowed in my home without a warrant… I didn’t believe you could get a warrant off of something a child says in school.” Banda continued, “We waited from 3 o’clock until 6 o’clock. They got a warrant at 6 o’clock at night and executed a warrant into my home. My husband and I are separated, and neither parent was contacted by authorities before was taken and questioned.” [...] Banda then described the actions that the State of Kansas began to take in an effort to take her son from her, “On the 24th, he was taken into custody. That was on a Tuesday. He was taken out of town Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday we had a temporary hearing… and temporary custody was granted to my ex. Now the only reason why temporary custody was granted to my ex is because the judge said something to the effect that the amount of cannabis found in my home was going to possibly be felony charges and it was pointless letting the child return home to his mother.” She believes that the state is trying to take her son away and said, “The state is trying to deem it to where [Shona's ex-husband] is not fit and I’m not fit and they’re trying to take custody of our child."" - BenSwann.com, April 13, 2015
Read the full story from BenSwann.com here.
Image: Shona Banda