A prosecutor in Minnesota refuses to drop charges against a woman who gave her suffering son medical marijuana, even though what the woman did will soon be legal in the state.
Angela Brown of Madison, Minn., faces two misdemeanor charges after someone turned her in for giving medical cannabis oil to her son, Trey, who suffers from severe muscle spasms. She could be sentenced to as many as two years in prison.
Rick Stulz, who is running unopposed for reelection as Lac Qui Parle County Attorney, filed charges against Brown earlier this year. He has refused to tell anyone why he decided to prosecute her when medical weed will soon be legal.
Local races are non-partisan in Minnesota, so it’s hard to say whether Stulz is a Republican. But his district is extremely conservative, so it’s unlikely he’s anything but an ideological right-winger invested in the drug wars.
Unfortunately, there are people like Stulz everywhere in this country, many in the justice system. Their goal is to turn back the hands of time and recriminalize marijuana.
Stulz is a local official, so his decisions ultimately will have no impact on statewide politics or the legality of weed. But they have already harmed Brown and her son.
“The prosecutor’s version of this is that a good mom allows her child to be in pain, to self-harm, and attempt to take his life,” she said. “I guess that’s a good mom in his eyes.”
Brown got the medication in Colorado after years of struggling to treat her son’s condition. It was technically illegal in Minnesota at the time, but the legislation legalizing medical pot had already been signed into law.
Had Brown not told “the wrong person,” who then snitched on her, she would have been fine, as her son’s treatment would become legal in a matter of months. But Stulz decided to punish her, clearly as a political statement against medical weed.
Brown has said she plans to move to Colorado with her family so Trey can continue his care. It’s not clear whether Minnesota’s law will take effect soon enough that she can stay in the state.
But state Rep. Carly Melin, a Democrat and one of the authors of the MMJ legislation, said the new law should apply to Trey. It covers patients who suffer from muscle spasms. Trey’s condition was the result of a car accident as a child.
One of Stulz’s assistants offered Brown a deal that would let her avoid jail time and a criminal record in return for a guilty plea. But Brown turned him down, saying she won’t plead to child endangerment, the most serious of the charged offenses. Brown was also charged with pot possession.
“I will agree to having had a product with THC in it in my possession, but I refuse to agree to child endangerment,” she said. “That’s not endangering him. Yes, if I had gone to a back alley and bought pot from some guy I didn’t know and then rolled a joint and made him smoke it, then fine, I did, but that’s a fairly dumbass thing to do, because you don’t know what’s in it.”