Attorney Sarah Swain, defending Shona Banda against multiple felony charges in Garden City, Kansas, says it time for all marijuana activists, organizations and, even users, medical or otherwise, to mobilize and stop this injustice. I agree.
Some weeks ago I became aware of the case of Shona Banda. Her son, reacting to comments being made by one of his teachers about marijuana usage, started a chain reaction that resulted in his being removed from his home and mother, and, the State of Kansas charging Shona with multiple felonies. Shona faces over 30 year’s confinement. Her attorney says if Shona were to be convicted; it would be a death sentence for her. You might think that statement to be hyperbole. Once you learn more about this case, it certainly is not.
My reaction to the case was to shine a light on the incident for many reasons. The state removing a child from a home is a very serious matter of course. Seeking the “best interests of the child” is the standard saying pretty much across the country. It may be worded a little differently here and there but essentially, that is the standard. Interviewing a child without a guardian present or even notified is also an important legal issue. In this case, one that does not have any sexual or physical abuse allegations being alleged or stated by Shona’s child, she should have been immediately notified BEFORE any further questioning was done, in my opinion. The State of Kansas has her child in protective custody and the presiding judge has issued a gag order. Of course that order does not have any jurisdiction over me so I have decided not to gag.
I asked Alfred Chang to discuss these issues with me on my radio show the following Sunday Morning. Alfred and I spoke at the monthly meeting for the organization Peachtree NORML, here in Georgia. He was familiar with the reports of Shona’s case and agreed to be interviewed with a focus on Georgia law governing a similar incident, his expertise, while discussing the absurdity of marijuana prohibition. I also reached out to Shona to see if she would like to discuss the case. Just prior to my show I was introduced to attorney Sarah Swain. I am happy to know her.
Sarah called in for a few minutes near the end of the show and provided a snapshot of the Child Custody order she was not directly involved in, as well as possible scenarios if Shona would eventually be charged.
When Shona was charged I immediately reached out to Attorney Swain and recorded an interview with her for my show last week. My audience learned a lot. I was impressed. Swain was candid, forthright, refreshing and motivated. She has what I can only describe as a blunt intelligence. She sees issues clearly and quickly. No matter the complexity. Added to this strong list of traits is a deep affection for her clients and, for justice. It is obvious to me that she is a marvelous attorney.
Swain explained how she educated herself for the past year about the medical marijuana controversy, as well as marijuana prohibition overall. During her investigation a point of emphasis for her was the classification of Marijuana as a Schedule I drug on the Federal and State drug grid within the governing statutes. That classification has been fought for decades and only within the last five (5) years have activists, lawyers and organizations been able to get the courts to even consider the argument. That door has slowly opened up just a crack. It is time to kick it in. Swain wants to do just that.
Swain outlined one of her strategies for this case to me in passionate detail. She called out all activists, organizations and, even casual users, to step up, make a stand with her and Shona, and, help finally fix this problem. This issue! Throw out prohibition and let this plant be grown and used by anyone who wants to. Fix this problem the government created. As to the nuts and bolts of any possible defenses Swain might use in this case, Swain explained that she had not seen any evidence or reports that the State are using for the basis of these charges, so that is yet to be determined.
In my view, for what it is worth, I believe this is one of those rare opportunities for “the people” to really make a change. Perhaps the main reason why I believe this is because a “leader” has arrived in the scene. Swain is certainly qualified. She certainly has the passion. She certainly has the case for it. Actually she has three of them. Add the cases of Amber Ostrom and Kyler Carricker, both also represented by Swain, and we have all the makings of a serious push for real change on this issue. I say we let Swain lead as she has offered to do and we stand right next to her while she is doing it. Let’s make the change. After all, Wonder Woman has the Justice League when she needs them. Swain is the real life equivalent and I for one do not have any trouble being her Batman. What do you have to say?