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This last week, there was some minor positive progress in Angela Brown’s pending prosecution; on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015, a district judge in Minnesota dropped the pending child endangerment charge Brown was facing. She is still facing a charge of contributing to the need for child protection and will theoretically go to trial to answer that charge. All of this is despite the fact that her son has a serious medical condition and despite how the state of Minnesota has already legalized medical marijuana.
For those not familiar with this case, the biggest issue here is that Angela Brown didn’t just sit on her hands for an extra year and several months, waiting for the state of Minnesota to roll out their medical marijuana program (which should theoretically be in place in July 2015, still months away at the time of this article’s publication). Her son, Trey Brown, suffered a sport-related traumatic brain injury in 2011 and has since suffered from severe pain in his head and uncontrollable muscle spasms and seizures.
When she realized that her son would likely benefit from medical cannabis and that the state was moving toward a more progressive stance on the plant, Angela Brown took matters into her own hands. She found high-quality cannabis oil and had Trey try it; he was visibly improved after only one dose. Herein is the issue: Angela was then faced with either denying her son a medical treatment that seemed to work until the state got its act together, or she could break the law by administering the medication to her son before the law took effect. Like many who have also faced prosecution in other medical marijuana states, she operated under the belief that the state would enforce the intent of the law, not the letter
The intent of Minnesota’s medical marijuana law is obvious; it was written to give individuals with a small number of serious medical concerns legal access to medical cannabis. Severe and persistent muscle spasms, which Trey unquestionably suffers, are one of the eight qualifying medical conditions for the Minnesota medical marijuana program. Unfortunately, his theoretical qualification for the program and the fact that his mother followed the rule of law (administering a oil, not smokable cannabis, which is not permitted under the law) did not stop someone from calling to report the family, and it didn’t stop the state from bringing charges against Angela Brown for daring to treat her son.
The Browns are not the only family suffering because of the slow roll-out of this law; many others in Minnesota and other states are left in legal limbo in the interim between when the law is signed and when it takes effect. Instead of wasting taxpayer money prosecuting a mother who was clearly behaving in her son’s best interest, the state would be much better served prosecuting an actual criminal or investing that money somewhere other than the criminal justice system.
The Brown family is using GoFundMe to raise money for Angela Brown’s legal fees, which continue to accrue despite one of the two charges being dropped. The family has had to hire a second attorney to represent their son, Trey Brown in light of the child endangerment charge being dropped because the District Attorney wants to force this young man to testify against his mother. Ladybud stands in solidarity with the Brown family and all those facing unjust prosecution for a victimless “crime.” May justice prevail.
For previous Ladybud Magazine coverage of families and cannabis, click here.
Photo Credit: Angela Brown