HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Marijuana Activist Still Plans to File Civil Rights Suit
Pubdate: Fri, 12 Feb 2016
Source: Garden City Telegram (KS)
Copyright: 2016 The Garden City Telegram
Author: Andy Marso


A Garden City mother facing criminal drug charges said this week that 
she still intends to file a lawsuit in federal court asserting a 
constitutional right to use marijuana to treat her Crohn's disease.

Attorneys for Shona Banda prepared the suit months ago and posted a 
draft version online.

Lawrence attorney Sarah Swain teamed with Long Beach, Calif., lawyer 
Matthew Pappas on the suit, and Banda said the delay in getting it 
filed is largely due to logistics.

"I guess they're trying to find out exactly how to go about it," 
Banda said in a recent phone interview. "They have to be in the same 
building at the same time, and they both have such hectic schedules."

Law enforcement officers searched Banda's house and found marijuana 
and a device for turning it into oil in April 2015 after her son 
spoke up about her use of it during an anti-drug presentation at his school.

Banda's son was removed from her custody and she has a pending court 
date in Finney County on the criminal charges resulting from the 
search. Banda already was a prominent voice in the medical marijuana 
community when she was charged, having posted online and written a 
self-published book about how she created her own oil derived from 
marijuana to treat the symptoms of Crohn's, a painful bowel ailment.

Attorneys for Banda have threatened to file a lawsuit that would name 
the Garden City Police Department, Garden City USD 457, the State of 
Kansas, the governor and the Kansas Department of Children and 
Families along with others, and alleges that Banda's rights to use 
cannabis for medicinal purposes and maintain custody of her son have 
been violated.

Banda said she "absolutely" still intends for the lawsuit to be filed.

"They need to be held accountable," she said. "Otherwise it's going 
to continue to keep happening to some people."

Swain and Pappas did not respond to requests for comment.

When news reports first surfaced about the draft lawsuit in 
September, Swain posted a link on her law office's Facebook page to a 
KHI News Service story published by the Garden City Telegram.

"This lawsuit can and will change the course of history," Swain 
posted above the link. "The time to end prohibition is now."

Broad bills legalizing marijuana for treating a wide range of 
illnesses have been introduced in the Kansas Legislature several 
times in the past five years but have gone nowhere.

Last year the House passed a narrow bill that would legalize low-THC 
marijuana oil for use in treating seizure disorders, but it has 
stalled this year after one Senate committee hearing.

Banda said she doesn't support the oil-only bill because it's far too 
restrictive and called it "the biggest farce ever."

Hearings in Banda's criminal case are scheduled for late July. The 
judge has ruled she will be allowed to submit evidence of marijuana's 
medicinal benefits.

Banda said she's aware using marijuana to treat her condition is 
illegal, but not using it is worse than any legal consequences.

"I don't want to get sick again," Banda said. "I'm not afraid of 
prison. I'm afraid of my own personal hell, and I never, ever will go back."
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