Garden City marijuana advocate ruled competent to stand trial

Jan 19, 2017

Credit Finney County Sheriff's Office

The Garden City woman charged with endangering a child and drug-related crimes  was ruled mentally competent to stand trial Tuesday.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Chief District Judge Wendel Wurst ruled that Shona Banda, well known as a proponent of cannabis oil use for treatment for her Crohn’s disease, was competent to stand trial, scheduled from June 26 to 29.

Wurst said according to a written evaluation, Banda was deemed mentally competent by Compass Behavioral Health on Jan. 5.

Wurst scheduled an arraignment and a pretrial motions hearing at 9 a.m. on April 7 at the Finney County Courthouse.

In addition to endangerment of a child charge, Banda is charged with distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of school property, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges stem from a March 2015 investigation by the Department of Children and Families and the Garden City Police Department after Banda’s then 11-year-old son allegedly told school officials that his mother was an avid user of marijuana, which resulted in his removal from Banda’s custody.

Kenneth B. Miller of Wichita was appointed as Banda's legal counsel and appeared with her in court Tuesday, along with Stacie Swanson-Cross, a member of The Human Solution International (THSI) advocacy group for the legalization of cannabis.

Michael Minardi of Florida, who is well known for arguing cases that result in acquittals, will join Miller as Banda’s co-counsel during Banda's trial.

Last month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Banda in March 2016 against the Garden City Police Department, Garden City’s school district, the state of Kansas, the governor and DCF, and others, alleging that her rights to maintain custody of her son and to treat her medical condition with cannabis were violated.