A Minnesota mother facing two misdemeanor charges for giving her son medical cannabis oil is making progress in her legal battle.
Brown, of Madison, Minnesota, was facing charges of child endangerment and contributing to the need for child protection after she administered medical cannabis oil to her 15 year-old son. Threatened with jail time, she sought the aid of defense attorney Michael Hughes and today they celebrated a bittersweet victory as the more serious charge of child endangerment was dismissed by a district judge.
Following a traumatic brain injury, Brown’s teenage son, Trey, suffered from chronic headaches, pain and muscle spasms that caused him to be frustrated and upset all the time on top of the suffering. Brown sought the use of medical cannabis oil as a treatment after hearing of the success medical marijuana patients were having.
The district judge who made the ruling agreed with Hughes that using cannabis oil for the treatment of her son’s medical condition did not fit within the limits of what the law considers a “sale” of cannabis, and therefore the charges of child endangerment were dropped. Hughes successfully argued that the statute Brown was being charged under was intended to protect children from being exposed to serious, controlled substances, and did not apply to medical cannabis.
However, the remaining charge against Brown for contributing to the need for child protection was not dismissed, and will be brought before a jury. The defense plans to emphasize the fact that medical cannabis will be legal in Minnesota later this year. Brown’s lawyers plan to call doctors to testify on her behalf, lending support to her assertion that her decision to use medical cannabis did not endanger her son.
According to Hughes, it would be ideal for the prosecution to drop the second charge altogether in light of the district judge’s ruling. This would spare the family the potential trauma of a trial, which brings the worrying possibility that Brown’s son may be called to testify. The family is concerned that this would be emotionally damaging to the teen. Despite this, the prosecution has indicated that it intends to move forward with the case on the grounds that medical cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the most commonly known psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, and is listed as a controlled substance in the state of Minnesota.
Brown’s case has attracted many supporters across the region, including state legislators, and Hughes is hopeful that the matter will be resolved soon, for the well-being of the family.
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According to state approved manufacturers in Minnesota, patients seeking medical marijuana on July 1 can expect to pay between $100 and $500 a month for their medicine. With no chance of insurance covering any of this bill, this cost will undoubtedly leave some families in a bind. These costs are a direct result of the state’s strict medical marijuana framework, which is one of the most complex and unique in the country. The hefty cost of the medicine is on top of the patient registration fee of $200 to be paid annually. The annual registration fee may be dropped to $50 for those who qualify for public programs.
Under Minnesota’s medical marijuana laws, marijuana can not be smoked or sold in flower form. This requires manufacturers to acquire high dollar extraction technologies and machinery to produce infused pills, oils, and concentrated forms, thus increasing the price of the product. Complex security rules and transportation logistics from production facilities to the eight approve dispensary also adds up.
“At the upper end, it would be impossible. I don’t have $500 left over at the end of the month. That’s over half my mortgage.”
said Sarah Wellington, a hopeful medical marijuana patient and St. Paul middle school teacher with multiple sclerosis.
There are only two licensed medical marijuana producers in the entire state, Minnesota Medical Solutions and LeafLine Labs, and both have promised to establish different pricing plans for patients who simply cannot afford medication. Costs will vary depending on the medical condition, and how much medication will be needed to treat the symptoms.
Permitting medical cannabis to be sold in the smoke-able flower form would help to greatly alleviate out-of-pocket patient costs, but for now the law simply will not allow it.
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A group in Minnesota filed a 9,000 signature strong petition with the Lac qui Parle County attorney requesting that all charges against Angela Brown be dropped at her sentencing hearing this week. Angela Brown is the Minnesota mom charged with child endangerment for giving her fifteen year old son cannabis oil to treat his brain injury.
Angela was faced with two years in jail and $6,000 in fines in Madison, Minnesota back in October. She was offered a plea deal, but has chosen to take the case to trial instead. Her hearing for a final sentence decision is this week.
The Minnesotans for Compassionate Care organization collected the signatures to show support for the Brown family. Medical marijuana legislation was approved in the state when it was signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The confusion is caused because the law does not technically go into effect until July 2015.
Fifteen year old Trey suffered a brain injury when he was struck in the head with a baseball. As a result of the injury, Trey suffered from many debilitating symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and he has even had a seizure. The chronic pain caused Trey to act out in school, and at home. The family tried all pharmaceutical options provided by physicians, but nothing helped. That is why Angela decided to try cannabis oil that she obtained legally in Colorado. Trey experienced immediate improvement with the cannabis therapy. Angela was charged when she told one of Trey’s teachers what had made such a difference in his attitude at school.
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