A mother has been denied custody of her son after he allegedly made comments supportive of marijuana in a classroom discussion last month.
Shona Banda, a medical marijuana activist, has been trying to regain custody of her 11-year-old son since the boy's classroom presentation on March 24, according to CBS News. Investigators say the boy told school officials that his mom and other adults in their home regularly used drugs. Later that day, police raided Banda's home in Wichita, Kansas, where they found marijuana. The child was placed in protective custody after the search.
Banda hasn't been arrested or charged with any crimes, but police forwarded her case to the district attorney on Monday, the same day a judge denied her request to regain custody in a hearing.
"That's OK -- I am not giving up," Banda told CBS News. "I will, I will get him and I am not going to stop until I do."
In the March classroom presentation, Banda's son also "disagreed with some of the anti-pot points that were being made by school officials," according to a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $30,000 for Banda's legal fees.
Banda returned home later that day to find two Child Protective Services officers and a police officer waiting on her porch. After she initially refused to let the officers in, they proceeded to obtain a warrant, according to a release from the Garden City Police Department. Vice News notes that the officers wouldn't let Banda enter the home until after they got a warrant to search inside for "evidence in the house, specifically marijuana."
A YouTube video has been circulating that purports to show Banda trying to get into her home.
Garden City Police found more than a pound of marijuana at the residence, as well as "a lab for manufacturing cannabis oil on the kitchen table and kitchen counters, drug paraphernalia and other items related to the packaging and ingestion of marijuana," according to the department release. CBS News notes that Banda uses concentrated cannabis oil to treat Crohn's disease, and wrote the book Live Free or Die: Reclaim your Life... Reclaim your Country!, which recounts her struggles with the condition.
Banda caused a social media firestorm after she went public with her story. A number of her defenders on Twitter argue that she should have custody of her son, especially since she hasn't even been charged with a crime. Her supporters also allege that police took down her personal Facebook page. A new page appears to have been set up to advocate on Banda's behalf.
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