By Oscar Pascual |
Despite the proliferation of medical and recreational marijuana legalization in the US, some parents are still forced to choose between their children and potentially life-saving medical cannabis.
Earlier this year, 37-year-old Kansas resident and mother Shona Banda launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise legal funds to regain custody of her 11-year-old son, who was taken by Child Protective Services after the child vocalized his mother. supported. medical marijuana use in a classroom discussion.
CPS claimed that Banda’s use of marijuana to treat her debilitating Crohn’s disease apparently put her child at risk.
The state of Kansas last Friday charged Banda with five counts of marijuana possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing THC oil extracts, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of endangering children. Washington Post reports.
Banda, who will turn up on June 15, could face up to 30 years in prison, according to her lawyer, just because she is a mother who has to use medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, Arizona judge Amber Thurmond is forced to move out by a Kansas judge if she ever wants to see her nine-year-old daughter again.
Thurmond, who uses medical marijuana to control seizures, sent her daughter in with her brother, a police officer, for a short period while Thurmond worked enough to be financially stable. She is now charged with physical, mental and emotional neglect in Kansas, where Thurmond’s daughter was admitted to the state foster care system but was eventually placed back in the care of her brother.
“These mothers are forced to choose between their health and their ability to be a parent,” Sarah Swain, a Kansas attorney who represents both Banda and Thurmond, said in an interview with the Washington Post. “And there really isn’t a choice to make. We cannot be mothers if we are so sick that we are bedridden, or if we are not alive.”
Banda and Thurmond’s trials are not isolated incidents. NORML founder and legal counsel Keith Stroup says he receives weekly calls from parents dealing with custody battles involving medical marijuana use.
“There are far too many people who assume that if you smoke marijuana, you are not a qualified parent,” Stroup told the Post. “That’s the result of 80 years of prohibition, and the natural tendency to assume there’s something terribly wrong with it. Only 14 percent of the country smokes weed regularly. Eight to six percent is not. Many people still assume that if you have children, you should not smoke. Even if they find it quite pleasant that you drink alcohol around children.’
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