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Medical Marijuana Advocate Says Suit Is To Prevent Other Child Custody Battles

James Dobson
Garden City Telegram/File photo

The Garden City, Kansas, mother who lost custody of her 11-year-old son over her use of cannabis oil says she’s looking to vindicate her and other people’s rights.

Shona Banda sued state officials late last week, asking the court to restore custody of her son, declare she has a “fundamental right” to use cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease, and award her damages.

“I want to hold these people accountable so this doesn’t happen to people any longer," Banda said, speaking from her Garden City home.

Police raided Banda’s home a year ago and seized marijuana and drug-related equipment after her 11-year-old son spoke up about her use of cannabis at a school anti-drug presentation.

“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 says.

Kansas authorities took custody of her son and the Finney County prosecutor has filed drug-related criminal charges against her. Her case has drawn widespread attention and underscored the sometimes draconian impact of laws that prohibit marijuana possession.

Dan Margolies is editor in charge of health news at KCUR, the public radio station in Kansas City. Dan joined KCUR in April 2014. In a long and varied journalism career, he has worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star and Reuters. In a previous life, he was a lawyer. He has also worked as a media insurance underwriter and project development director for a video production firm.