The War on Drugs is a War on Families

A majority of U.S. states today now allow some form of medicinal use of cannabis --- with 23 states and the District of Columbia having enacted laws permitting physicians to recommend the plant as a whole and an additional 15 states with CBD-oil-only laws. Even some of the states considered to be the most draconian and backward on cannabis issues, such as Alabama and Georgia, have since passed CBD-oil legislation due to CBD’s particular effectiveness against epileptic seizures in children, without much fanfare or controversy. This fact would for a second give us hope about those in power - after all, no matter how hard one’s heart is, how much pious arrogance one possesses, there must be some humanity, even in the warped mind of the fervent drug warrior. However, that is not necessarily the case. Although we are making progress, the case of Shona Banda proves that we have a long way to go before the brutality of the drug war is put to an end for good.

Shona Banda, a Kansas mother who is using CBD oil to treat her Crohn’s disease, a debilitating and sometimes fatal gastrointestinal disorder, had her child kidnapped from her by the Kansas Department for Children and Families – all because the kid courageously disputed a falsehood spread by the state propaganda machine on cannabis. It was not that he had any cannabis on him, let alone using it --- but for merely discussing medicinal benefit of the plant, an 11-year-old child is pulled away by force from love and warmth of his mother by the cold hand of the state.

First of all I would not be capable of imagining this kind of trauma this child has received --- having to learn that the world around him lies to him and would take him away from the mother who conceived him in order to perpetuate dangerous falsehoods. Adding insult to injury, the police in Garden City searched Banda’s residence, and upon finding her medicine, got her charged with “crimes” that could carry a maximum sentence of 30 years. This insane miscarriage of justice should be unfathomable, but thanks to the drug war, it has been the routine public policy in the 'land of the free' for many decades.

Clearly, Shona Banda is not the criminal – the drug warriors in Kansas are. At this point I can no longer characterize this only as someone being unfortunately caught in the crosshairs of the drug war, as an act of injustice, or as a bad law being enforced. These are not words sufficiently strong or accurate. It’s a crime, a crime against an innocent mother and child. As the state is depriving Banda her medicine and attempting to imprison her while cannabis is necessary for her to manage the possibly fatal Crohn’s disease, Kansas is guilty of not only criminal kidnapping but attempted murder. Banda's attorney Sarah Swain said it very bluntly, “If … she gets sent to prison … there is a real chance that this is … a death sentence.”

To support Banda’s legal defense, a crowdfunding page has been set up to accept donations. Kansas needs to immediately cease and desist from continuing its crimes and drop all charges on Banda, as well as return her son home. There is also a great organization devoted to support parents like Banda who use cannabis for medicinal purposes at risk of having their children kidnapped by authorities, called Family Law and Cannabis Alliance (FLCA). As families are the fundamental units of our society, tearing them apart for an oppressive ideology is especially heinous. And of course, these crimes won’t end unless the war on cannabis ends for good, and Peace on Our Streets is working exactly towards this goal. Help us hasten the demise of the drug war by joining us.

One day, when our years of hard work finally pays off and the drug war has ceased fully, families like Banda’s will no longer be broken apart. People like Banda who rely on cannabis for their survival will no longer face raids and imprisonment by the state. That is the future that is approaching us, but it is going to take all hands on desk to get us to that goal.