Since March of last year, Truth in Media has covered the work of cannabis oil activist Shona Banda, a mother and Crohn’s disease patient who successfully used cannabis oil to treat her illness and developed her own inexpensive method for extracting it. However, Banda’s ordeal took a serious turn in April of this year when her son was seized by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and her home raided by police after her 11-year-old son spoke out about Banda’s successful cannabis oil treatment during an anti-drug presentation at his Garden City, KS public school.
Truth in Media’s exclusive interviews with Banda about her fight to regain custody of her son and the five criminal charges, three of them felonies, that she faces pursuant to the April raid on her home garnered nationwide attention, with outlets like The Washington Post and ABC’s The View picking up the story.
Now, Shona Banda’s case has caught the attention of libertarian icon and former Republican US Congressman Ron Paul, who weighed in on her case during Tuesday’s episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report.
In the episode, seen in the above-embedded video player, Ron Paul spoke optimistically of the fact that laws prohibiting treatment with cannabis oil have been overturned in many states, but noted that these changes are happening too slowly to help in Shona Banda’s case. As an alternative, he pointed to jury nullification, a legal tool that jurors can use to defend fellow citizens from unjust laws.
“[Shona Banda] could end up in prison for 34 years,” said Paul, who called the charges against her “so egregious.”
Jury nullification describes a discretionary act in which a juror uses his or her right to acquit a defendant, but does so, not on the basis that the accused is innocent of the charges, but instead based on the belief that the law itself is unjust. Former Congressman Paul cautioned that efforts to stand outside a specific courthouse and educate jurors on the principle of jury nullification could result in activists being charged with jury tampering.
Paul also pointed out the fact that parents who home-school their kids do not face a risk that public school employees will interrogate their children in an effort to spy on parents’ behavior. He concluded by articulating his broader view that the War on Drugs exceeds the federal government’s constitutional limits. “[The federal government] shouldn’t even be involved. Where is it in the Constitution that they’re going to tell us about what our kids can do or what a person can do for their own body, taking something that grows naturally and finds out that its the best medication they could take? I mean that is not a federal function.”
Shona Banda’s supporters have already raised nearly $50,000 to support her legal defense via a GoFundMe page. Banda has predicted that her legal fees may exceed $150,000.
In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode confronting the federal government’s mixed messages about the efficacy of medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.