On March 24, cannabis oil activist Shona Banda‘s life was flipped upside-down after her son was taken from her by the State of Kansas. The ordeal started when counselors at her 11-year-old son’s school conducted a drug education class. Her son, who had previously lived in Colorado for a period of time, disagreed with some of the anti-pot points that were being made by school officials. “My son says different things like my ‘Mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana.’ He let them know how educated he was on the facts,” said Banda in an exclusive interview with BenSwann.com. Banda successfully treated her own Crohn’s disease with cannabis oil.
After her son spoke out about medical marijuana, he was detained, and police launched a raid on Shona Banda’s home. “Well, they had that drug education class at school that was just conducted by the counselors… They pulled my son out of school at about 1:40 in the afternoon and interrogated him. Police showed up at my house at 3… I let them know that they weren’t allowed in my home without a warrant… I didn’t believe you could get a warrant off of something a child says in school.” Banda continued, “We waited from 3 o’clock until 6 o’clock. They got a warrant at 6 o’clock at night and executed a warrant into my home. My husband and I are separated, and neither parent was contacted by authorities before [our son] was taken and questioned.”
“They subsequently conducted a raid and then called me when the raid was over letting me know that there was a list of items they took on my kitchen table, I was allowed to go home, and [an officer] gave me his word I would not be arrested in person or at work and that charges would be given to me in a postcard in the mail. I have not been charged with anything at this point, but I have a hard time believing that it’s OK for them to interrogate my child without parental consent for hours,” said Banda. A report by The Human Solution International notes that officers found 2 ounces of cannabis and an ounce of cannabis oil during the raid.
Banda then described the actions that the State of Kansas began to take in an effort to take her son from her, “On the 24th, he was taken into custody. That was on a Tuesday. He was taken out of town Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday we had a temporary hearing… and temporary custody was granted to my ex. Now the only reason why temporary custody was granted to my ex is because the judge said something to the effect that the amount of cannabis found in my home was going to possibly be felony charges and it was pointless letting the child return home to his mother.” She believes that the state is trying to take her son away and said, “The state is trying to deem it to where [Shona’s ex-husband] is not fit and I’m not fit and they’re trying to take custody of our child.”
“For him to have spoken up in class I can’t be upset about because he hears me daily on the phone talking with people, encouraging people to speak up and speak out. We did have the talk about how it’s not OK to bring this up in Kansas, because it’s a different state [than Colorado]. It’s very confusing for a child,” said Banda, noting how difficult it can be for children to understand how something could be considered legal medicine in one state and contraband in another.
Authorities have yet to charge Banda with a crime, and her next custody hearing is set to take place on April 20.
Update April 17, 2:20 PM: In light of new details confirmed by Radley Balko at The Washington Post, the first paragraph of this article has been edited to clarify the fact that the Garden City Police Department did not participate in the school’s drug education class, but were called by Child Protective Services to search Shona Banda after school officials contacted CPS in response to her son’s comments during the class.
In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the government’s mixed messages on medical cannabis. Watch it in the video player, found below.