MADISON, Minn. - A Lac Qui Parle County mother is charged with giving her son medical cannabis oil before the state's new medical marijuana law takes effect next summer.
Angela Brown, of Madison, Minnesota faces two gross misdemeanors, including child endangerment, for giving her 15-year-old son marijuana oil to relieve pain from a traumatic brain injury.
"He is worth every bit of struggle and any bit of time we have to spend in a courtroom," said David Brown, the boy's father.
Trey Brown was pitching at a baseball game in 2011 when a line drive ball hit him in the temple of the left side of his head. His mother says the injury led to a brain bleed and pain so severe, her son began harming himself and contemplated suicide. Medications failed, and the Browns say that's when an emergency room doctor suggested the family try medical marijuana.
Last spring, the family traveled to Boulder, Colorado to purchase a medical marijuana oil, administered orally to relieve pain and muscle spasms.
"Trey would describe it as reducing the pressure in his head. He didn't have the pressure anymore and his muscles would calm down," said Angela Brown. "Everything was great until I opened my mouth to the wrong person and I got turned in. And family services questioned my son at school, the cops came to my workplace."
Brown says after the family's explanation, the county family services dropped the case, but the Lac Qui Parle County attorney decided to pursue criminal charges.
"I guess their definition of a good mom would have been a mom who sat back, let the doctors do whatever, and possibly let their child die," said Angela Brown. "I guess a bad a mom chooses to go find answers for her child and chooses to treat her child and takes his pain away. So, if they want to call me a bad mom, then fine."
Bob Capecchi, with the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C., is a Minnesota native and marijuana policy expert who has been tracking the legal ramifications of Minnesota's new medical marijuana law, which will take effect in July 2015.
"Stunned was my initial reaction," said Capecchi. "I can't think of an instance where an individual has been brought up on charges like this simply because the effective date hasn't come around yet for the law that has already been passed. Let's not forget, there is a medical marijuana law that has been endorsed by the legislature and by the Governor."
Capecchi added prosecutors have discretion on whether or not to bring charges in individual cases and said Brown's case seems "tailor made" to use that discretion and drop the charges.
KARE 11's calls to Lac Qui Parle County Attorney Richard Stulz were not returned at time of deadline Wednesday.
The Browns have reached out to Governor Dayton for help, but say they have not heard back. They are also considering moving to Colorado, but first, face a court appearance in late September. The family already has supporters who plan to fill the courtroom, and a fundraising page with donors supporting their legal battle.
"I didn't give my son back alley pot. I gave him controlled medicinal cannabis," said Brown. "I want them to have compassion for a mother that was just trying to save her child."