The Plight of Shona Banda

If you are reading this article, it may be hard for you to comprehend the story that follows. In a state that has come to be known as the herald of medicinal marijuana, it may come as a surprise just how illegal cannabis still is in other parts of our country. This story is one among thousands that illustrates that stark contrast between state laws. The fact that someone could still face decades of prison time in the United States for using cannabis to treat a fatal disease is absolutely unfathomable to most who live on the east or west coast of the U.S. However, for those that dwell in the middle of our continent, marijuana prohibition is still in full swing. Taking some of the “heart” out of our “heart-land”.

Shona Banda has dealt with Crohn’s disease for over a decade now. And her two sons have had to watch her battle with it all their lives. From multiple surgeries to helping her get around, Crohn’s had infected not just Shona’s body, but her life and the lives of those she loved as well. Known as a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine, Crohn’s Disease is horribly painful and, as in Shona’s case, life threatening. And as any doctor would tell you, it has no cure. The best that the doctors said they could do for Shona was to try and prolong the inevitable and to ease her pain. That is when Shona tried cannabis oil as a last resort. She immediately saw results she had never seen with pharmaceuticals. She then watched a video by Rick Simpson and realized that this was exactly what she had been looking for. She started learning how to make the oil herself in her home in Kansas. Before long, she had regained full functionality of her lower body and was gaining weight back. She was back from the brink of death.

Then, one day in March of 2015, one of Shona’s sons attended a drug prevention class in his elementary school. During the lesson, he raised his hand and shared what he had learned from watching his mother take cannabis oil pills. Being that cannabis is still illegal in Kansas, the officers proceeded to pull Shona’s son from class and question him. They did this without ever notifying Shona. After using the information obtained from her son, they got a warrant to search her house and confiscated all of her oil and equipment. They then proceeded to remove the boy from her custody and put him in the care of his father. Shona’s older son remained with her as he was over the age of 18. The DCF (Department of Children and Families) and police then arrested Banda and charged her with numerous drug charges as well as child endangerment. The sum of the sentences would be around 30 years.

That is not a mistake, you read it correctly. A woman who lives a mere three states away, is facing thirty years in prison for treating a fatal disease with the same medicine many are using both legally and purely for recreation. Since March, Shona has moved on to her second lawyer, as her first did not seem up to the task at hand. She is now preparing a defense against the state and the DCF for illegally obtaining a warrant based on the testimony of a child without consent from a parent. She is still fighting to be able to stay out of jail since, if she were incarcerated, she would obviously be denied her medication and would soon relapse back onto her death bed. All of this, while only seeing her son occasionally since he is still in his father’s custody.

So essentially, Shona Banda is facing thirty years in prison and the removal of her child based on the fact that she is treating her fatal Crohn’s Disease with cannabis oil. This is how much of a disconnect there is in the realm of cannabis now. While many on the coast see marijuana as nothing less than medicine and nowhere near as bad as alcohol, there is still a lot of miseducation going on in our country in regards to cannabis as a whole. So the next time you get frustrated about how much the tax is on your bud or why you can’t find your favorite strain at the shop near you, just remember, at least you can medicate without facing thirty years in jail and losing those closest to you.

If you would like to help Shona in her fight or simply learn more about her situation and the absurdity involved, you can go to her official site: www.shonabanda.net

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