Minnesota mom charged for giving son cannabis oil early

Minnesota mom charged for giving son cannabis oil early

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MADISON, Minn. (KMSP) -

After years of watching her son suffer with the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, Angela Brown turned to medical marijuana as a last resort. It worked, but the decision has left her facing criminal charges.

Minnesota this year became the 22nd state to approve specific forms of marijuana for medicinal use, but prosecutors in Lac qui Parle County don't want people getting a head start. When the law goes into effect in July 2015, it's likely that Brown's 15-year-old son would qualify to access the cannabis oil he was already taking; however, the mother from Madison, Minn., is now facing two gross misdemeanor charges, including child endangerment. Each charge carries a penalty of one year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine.

"Trey described it as the pressure in his brain was being released," Brown told Fox 9 News, "Once it hit his system with the right amount of dose, the muscle spasms would stop. The pain was eased. It was just relief."

When her son was 11 years old, a baseball that struck his temple left him with a severe brain trauma. The pain associated with the injury had led to "self harming" episodes, according to charging documents. After exhausting all other options to help the now-15-year-old cope with the pain, the family took a vacation to Colorado and bought oil containing THC at a shop there. His mother would administer just a few drops as needed, and in a matter of hours, the symptoms would vanish. The teen's parents say he was even doing better in school as a result.

"It was just amazing to find something that helped our son," David Brown admitted.

The criminal complaint, which was filed in June, states that Brown was not embarrassed about the legally-questionable decision. In fact, Brown admitted that her son was using medical marijuana after a Lac qui Parle County deputy requested a child protection worker interview her about the use of cannabis oil. During an interview with police, she even handed over the substance that had helped her son so much.

"I mean, you finally find something that works for your child, that takes the pain away, and I had to give it up because I had a fear of going to jail -- because how am I supposed to take care of my child?" Angela Brown told Fox 9 News.

Given that the boy's condition would likely qualify him for medical marijuana access in Minnesota once the law takes effect, his parents don't see why they should wait a full year to give their son his medicine. Now, Angela Brown believes prosecutors are trying to make an example out of her -- but she warns they may get more than they bargained for.

"I have said to many that then, I'm going to be the best example that I can be of what medicinal cannabis can do, not only for my son but anybody that is suffering," she explained.

In the interim, however, the family is focusing on making sure their son can access the oil that has improved his quality of life. That means they're preparing for the possibility of leaving the state, and may move to Colorado if necessary.

"The legal protections will be in place soon here in Minnesota, but for the family, not soon enough," Rep. Carly Melin, who authored the medical marijuana legislation, said.

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