A marijuana plant is seen at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016. (Jack Guez, AFP/Getty Images)

Marijuana advocate Shona Banda sues Kansas after state took custody of son

WICHITA, Kan. — Shona Banda, a western Kansas woman, is suing the state and some of the agencies involved in questioning and removing her 11-year-old son from her home after he spoke up at school about her possessing and using marijuana.

Shona Banda’s federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, alleges the state of Kansas and its agencies deprived her of her civil rights to treat a debilitating condition that she says is Crohn’s disease, the Wichita Eagle reported.

The Garden City woman, 38, also claims officials have infringed on her parenting, and that local police and school employees improperly questioned her son without her permission.

Banda’s son was removed from her custody in March 2015 after authorities said he made comments during a drug-education program at his school that his mother and other adults at home were avid drug users. Police said a subsequent search of her home uncovered more than a pound of marijuana, as well as cannabis oil and other drug-related items.

Spokespeople for Garden City public schools and Gov. Sam Brownback’s office are declining comment, citing the pending litigation. The Kansas Department for Children and Families, which is also named as a defendant, recommends that children be removed from their homes when serious safety issues exist — but not solely for marijuana use, spokeswoman Theresa Freed said.

“The court has final say regarding placement of children,” Freed said. “Marijuana is an illegal substance in the state of Kansas. It can have both direct and indirect detrimental consequences on families.”

Banda, who according to court records is acting as her own attorney in the lawsuit filed on the one-year anniversary of the police raid, seeks unspecified damages.

Banda’s lawsuit insists she educated her 11-year-old son about the substance and told him “it is a medication.” She never allowed that boy to use the drug, according to the lawsuit.

Banda, the author of a book recounting her use of concentrated cannabis oil to treat Crohn’s, which is an inflammatory bowel disease, faces marijuana-related charges in Finney County. The status of that case was not immediately available Saturday.

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle