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A personal letter from Shona Banda (Please help Shona Banda!)

 

 

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Shona Banda’s ~ Live Free or Die·

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

 

I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution that has helped so far in this struggle. The GoFundMe money was raised for legal fees and expenses surrounding the case, the money has been allocated and the site taken down. A new funding site will be made as further legal contributions are needed, and will be handled as the case continues. Legal funds do not account for living expenses. I prefer to work for the money I earn and have been able to get my book “Live Free or Die” ready for a reprinting with a projected date of the first week of April or sooner to be available worldwide.

I believe in persistence, perseverance, and working hard to achieve goals.

Many of you have seen what has happened in my life over the course of the last year, when police surrounded my home after my son spoke out in class. You have followed me in the past year as I have attended many court dates, struggled with pain and anguish, and watched me face this court system with my head held high.

I have a certainty, a clarity in my fight against these unjust laws. I fight with no fear, I hold my head high, knowing I am in truth. Knowing that I have a basic right to life, a basic right to live! I have faced death head on, I have struggled and felt torturous pain inflicted upon me by the barbaric medical system our society clings to and calls normal. I know I can stand tall and proud in truth, knowing it was all foretold.

Knowing that my journal, of finding how beneficial this cannabis plant was, and being able to share my personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences had to be written and published in 2010. I explain, in detail, my sickness, my life, my family, and how I teach my children; all surrounding the cannabis plant and how this plant made me feel as my body regenerated and healed.

“Live Free or Die” is a book that has already helped so many worldwide take back their own lives, and folks have been inspired to share their own stories and testimonials to help spread this knowledge.

Purchasing a signed copy of Live Free or Die helps me and my family in this very hard time, immediately, right now. I wrote this book to help others. I wrote this book to empower anyone who picked it up. I wrote this book to show everyone that LIFE truly matters. History is being made. Now. Own a piece of it, personally signed.

Purchase your pre-ordered signed copy of “Live Free or Die” here paypal.me/ShonaBanda

Hardcover $45

Paperback $35

Donations of gratuity are also accepted.

Thank you all for your continued support in this fight.

Shona Banda ,,

You can contribute today at https://www.gofundme.com/shonabanda

www.shonabanda.org

Email: LFODproject@Gmail.com

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FACEBOOK PAGE “LIVE FREE OR DIE”

 

PLEASE DONATE TO THE GOFUNDME.COM ACCOUNT for Shona Banda’s personal expenses

 

 

 

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Marijuana Activist, Shona Banda, Who Lost Custody Of Son Says She’s Suing So It Doesn’t Happen To Others

Shona Banda, shown here after she was booked into jail and then released after posting bond in June, has sued state and Garden City officials, claiming she has a constitutional right to use cannabis to treat her Crohn’s disease. Credit James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

 

By Dan Margolies

The Garden City, Kansas, mother who lost custody of her 11-year-old son over her use of cannabis oil says she wants to hold state officials accountable “so this doesn’t happen to people any longer.”

Shona Banda, who sued state agencies and officials late last week, is representing herself in the action, which asks the court to restore custody of her son, declare that she has a “fundamental right” to use cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease and award unspecified damages.

“We need to restore actual liberties in this country,” Banda said in a telephone interview with Heartland Health Monitor. “The powers that be have gained way too much control when they think that they can do these kinds of things even with your children.”

Banda posted a draft of her lawsuit online as long ago as September but later said its filing had been delayed by the inability of her attorneys, one in Lawrence, Kansas, and the other in California, to agree on a mutual schedule.

In the lawsuit filed last week, however, she is acting on her own behalf. Asked what had become of her attorneys, Banda said the California attorney had a medical emergency “and we were coming on the statute of limitations to file the case. So I had to do what I had to do in order to make this happen.”

The suit was filed a year to the day after Garden City police raided her home and seized marijuana, cannabis oil and drug-related equipment after her 11-year-old son spoke up about her use of cannabis at a school anti-drug presentation.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families subsequently took custody of her son, saying the home environment was not safe for him, and the Finney County district attorney filed drug-related criminal charges against her. The charges carry a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison.

Banda said she would represent herself in court until she could find “adequate representation.”

Her 20-page lawsuit, filed in federal court, names as defendants the state of Kansas; the Kansas Department for Children and Families; DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore; Gov. Sam Brownback; the Garden City Police Department and its police chief, James R. Hawkins; the Garden City School District; and Tyler Stubenhoffer, an employee of the school district.

The suit alleges that the defendants violated Banda’s constitutional rights under the 9th and 14th amendments and cites an “emerging awareness” of the medical benefits of marijuana and its increasing societal acceptance. However, legal experts say there’s little case law supporting a constitutional right to medical marijuana.

Under Kansas law, possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second conviction is punishable by up to 3 ½ years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Theresa Freed, a spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families, could not be reached for comment on Monday. But asked in September about Banda’s then-threatened lawsuit, she said that the department’s mission is to “protect children, promote healthy families and encourage personal responsibility.”

“Our social workers are trained to assess the safety of a home and make an appropriate recommendation to the court,” Freed said. “Marijuana is an illegal substance in the state of Kansas. It can have both direct and indirect detrimental consequences on families.”

Banda said her son is in the custody of his father and she has visitation rights. She said, however, that she and the father are getting divorced “and I’m fighting for sole custody of my son.”

Banda has another son, 19, who lives with her and whom she says “is working and trying to do what he can to be an adult.”

She acknowledged that the legal odyssey she’s endured over the last year has been “very difficult” but said her younger son was “doing OK.”

“But it’s been very difficult on our family as a whole, I will say that,” she said.

Banda has been a highly visible advocate of medical marijuana and self-published a book about her use of cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause severe abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Her lawsuit says she has undergone 17 surgeries over eight years. It says that the cannabis oil she uses to treat her condition had “significantly relieved” debilitating symptoms that had prevented her from working and confined her to her home.

Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

CONTINUE READING….

 

ADDITIONALLY,

A personal letter from Shona Banda

This Mom Faces Prison For Medical Marijuana. Now Her Attorney Has Declared War On The Drug War Itself.

Matt Ferner Become a fan Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

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A 38-year-old Kansas woman who lost custody of her 11-year-old son and faces charges that could send her to prison for 30 years over her use of medical marijuana was released on bail last week.

Shona Banda, who has a severely debilitating case of Crohn’s disease, now prepares for the fight of her life — one that her attorney is hoping will not just keep her client out of prison and restore custody of her child, but one that she hopes will cripple “absurd, archaic and outdated marijuana laws that should have been changed decades ago” in Kansas and the rest of the United States.

Here’s how a mother of two using a plant to self-medicate found herself, and her family, being targeted by authorities in her home state. And just how she’s planning to fight back.

‘She Was Barely Functioning, Barely Living.’

Banda had been suffering from what she calls a “terminal case” of Crohn’s disease for nearly a decade.

Crohn’s is a chronic bowel disease that causes inflammation of the intestinal tract and produces an intestine that can no longer adequately absorb food and water. This can result in mild to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramping, blood loss and anemia, as well as joint pain and swelling, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Its exact cause remains unknown, and while death from Crohn’s is rare, a multitude of complications that can arise when living with the disease can be fatal.

Banda says she was “bedridden” and “walking with a cane for help” due to the severity of the joint pain she was experiencing.

“With Crohn’s disease, it’s like having a stomach flu that won’t go away, and my body’s recognizing that something’s wrong and it’s attacking itself so it’s in overdrive,” Banda said in a 2010 YouTube video interview.

She said she frequently was so weak and in so much pain that she raised her kids “from a couch.”

To combat the disease, Banda had numerous surgeries, long hospital stays, difficult recoveries and dozens of prescription medications that she was forced to take daily — and even with all of that, she was "barely functioning, barely living," Banda’s attorney Sarah Swain told The Huffington Post in an interview.

“If we were to place her disease on a spectrum, I would place it on the far end as something that could have killed her and I believe, very strongly, still could,” Swain said. “If the end result of this case is that she gets sent to prison, I believe there is a real chance that this is the equivalent of a death sentence.”

Shona’s ‘Miraculous’ Recovery

Desperate for an effective treatment, Banda began looking outside of traditional medicine. After watching a documentary about the benefits of cannabis oil, Banda said she started to make her own oil in her kitchen and would consume it around meals.

“Literally within days her Crohn’s was in full remission,” Swain said. And after several months of continued treatment, her health had improved so dramatically that “she considered herself cured from Crohn’s disease.”

“I’m not in my deathbed, I’m working for the first time in four years, I’m hiking, I’m swimming, I’m able to play with my kids, I’m able to do things — I love it,” Banda said in the YouTube video.

Banda was public about her health crisis, as well as her use of medical marijuana, and detailed it all in a 2010 memoir, Live Free Or Die, which recounts her brutal battle with Crohn’s disease for years.

She also recorded a YouTube video the same year her book was published to help further spread her message about the medical benefits of cannabis.

“When you decide to take your life into your own hands and realize that you can do this with a $50 machine, a $5 spatula and a plant that you can grow for free in your backyard, you can do this — and it’s awesome,” Banda says in the YouTube video. “This stuff is amazing, it’s miraculous.”

A ‘Drug Education’ Discussion Sparks An Investigation

Banda made no secret about her cannabis oil use around her two children, 11 and 18, and they watched firsthand for years as their mother’s strength, and health, returned as she continued to self-medicate.

That’s why during a March 24 “drug and alcohol education” presentation at Banda’s 11-year-old son’s school in Garden City, Kansas, her son pushed back against some of the information he was being told about marijuana’s dangers — it didn’t ring true to his personal experience.

“So he raised his hand and essentially said, ‘No, that’s not accurate,’” Swain said.

But his nuanced understanding of the plant inadvertently set in motion a series of events that would turn his family’s life upside down. Banda’s son was quickly called into the principal’s office, where the fifth-grader was questioned at length about his mother’s marijuana use, Swain said. That meeting triggered a call to Child Protective Services. The agency notified local law enforcement, which obtained a warrant and then searched Banda’s home shortly thereafter.

Inside Banda’s home, police found a little more than 1 pound of marijuana, along with equipment Banda had been using to manufacture her cannabis oil in the kitchen. They also found various items related to ingesting marijuana throughout the house that tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana associated with the “high” sensation and well-known for its medicinal properties. The police also said that the items taken from the house were “within easy reach of the child.”

Banda’s son was immediately removed from her custody and placed into state custody, where he remains. He has been temporarily placed with Banda’s husband, from whom she is separated.

Kansas, A State Of Prohibition

To date, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, 20 have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the plant and four have legalized recreational marijuana.

However, marijuana, be it medical or recreational, remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Within the CSA, the U.S. has five categories for drugs and drug ingredients, with a Schedule 1 categorization reserved for what the Drug Enforcement Administration considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no medical value. Marijuana has been classified as such for decades, alongside other substances like heroin and LSD.

The states that have legalized marijuana or softened penalties for possession have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

But those protections don’t extend to states like Kansas that have continued to prohibit marijuana, similarly to the federal government.

Banda was aware of the risks of using medical marijuana in her home state. Twice she had tried to relocate to Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, as so many people have done — becoming “marijuana refugees” — but for financial reasons, she was forced to return to Kansas.

“Shona Banda is not a rich woman, she is a lower-middle-class woman who does not have a lot of money or financial support in the world,” Swain said. “And at multiple times while she was attempting to live in Colorado and use cannabis legally, she found herself homeless, her and her family. It was very difficult.”

Swain said Banda was forced to choose between a state that was too expensive for her to live in but provided legal access to the medicine she so desperately needed, or move back to Kansas, where she could afford to pay her bills and provide a more stable living environment for her children, knowing that the medicine that was keeping her alive and well could land her in prison.

The state of Kansas has charged Banda with five felonies: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing THC, child endangerment and two counts of drug paraphernalia possession.

She faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, an extreme sentence that has outraged advocates for reforming the prohibition policies in states like Kansas.

“Punishing someone for using marijuana to treat a medical condition is ridiculous,” Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told HuffPost. “Taking away their child for it is legitimately evil. Kansas’ draconian marijuana laws have caused far more harm to this woman and to her child than marijuana ever could.”

Banda turned herself in Monday. She immediately posted the $50,000 bond the state had set and was released from jail just a few hours later. She was only able to do so thanks to a GoFundMe account in her support that has garnered tens of thousands of dollars more than the $15,000 it was initially set up to raise.

Next: A War On The War On Drugs

“Law enforcement messed with the wrong person,” Swain said with ferocity.

Of course, first and foremost, Swain wants to see all charges dropped against her client and for custody of her son to return.

But she has a secondary goal. It’s lofty, but it’s one she says is long overdue and one that doesn’t end with changing just Kansas’ marijuana laws.

“The goal is to change the law for everyone, to make sure that this drug is classified as something less than a Schedule 1 drug, something that, if changed, would benefit millions of people,” Swain said. “We are filling our prisons with poor people and minorities, because, let’s be honest, the war on drugs is a war on poor people and minorities, it’s a pipeline for mass incarceration — and it needs to end."

Swain says that she is prepared to take Banda’s case every step of the way to achieve those goals — including before the Supreme Court, if that’s what it takes.

"Too many people are being forced to choose between dying or violating a law and facing going to prison — it’s totally unacceptable," Swain said. "It’s time to end these absurd, archaic and outdated marijuana laws that should have been changed decades ago.”

Further hearings in Banda’s case are set to be scheduled on Aug. 24.

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