Minnesota Mom on Trial for Giving Son Marijuana for Seizures

By Paul Gaita 10/02/14

Angela Brown faces two years in prison for providing her son with medicine that immediately provided relief for his intense seizures.

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Minnesota resident Angela Brown’s son, Trey, suffers from intense pain and spasms as a result of traumatic brain injury. Prescription medications offered him little relief, so Brown turned to cannabis oil, which she purchased in Colorado through legal means. The cannabis oil provided immediate relief to Trey. “Once it hit his system, Trey said the pressure in his brain was relieved,” said Brown. “You could literally see the muscle spasms stopping. He felt amazing.”

Unfortunately, investigators were tipped off about Brown’s treatment for her son, and seized the oil while also charging her with child endangerment and causing a child to need protection. The charges carry a possible sentence of two years in jail and a $6,000 fine, but Brown rejected a settlement offer that would have given her a one-year stay of adjudication, which would have kept a conviction off her record if she complied with all the terms of sentencing if she pleaded guilty. Lac qui Parle County officials are now pursuing a trial, while Brown is circulating a petition to help pay for her legal fees.

Minnesota became the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in May 2014, but the law restricts the distribution and consumption of the plant in its natural state; rather, patients must imbibe it in oil, vapor or pill form. The law will take effect in 2015, but Brown has been advised that they may not be able to access the same variety of marijuana that has proven effective for her son. As a result, she has announced the family’s decision to relocate to Colorado, pending the outcome of the case.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.