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

Mar 29, 2016

Shona Banda leaves jail after posting bond in June. Banda is suing Garden City and state officials, claiming her constitutional right to use cannabis oil to treat Crohn's disease.
Credit 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.