MADISON, Minn. – Minnesota mother Angela Brown, who gave her son an illegal drug that will be legal by this time next year, appeared in Lac qui Parle County court Wednesday morning, where her attorney appealed for the charges against her to be dismissed.
Brown stands accused of two gross misdemeanor counts of child endangerment for giving cannabis oil to her son Trey, who suffered seizures and agonizing pain from a head injury.
By July, medical marijuana will be legal in Minnesota. But since that law isn’t in effect yet, the Lac qui Parle County attorney opted to prosecute Brown after an official at Trey’s school tipped off child protective services. Brown is charged, not with possession of the small amount of cannabis in the dropper bottle, but of endangering her child by involving him in a drug transaction.
“I didn’t harm my child,” said Brown, a 38-year-old mother of three from Madison. “I really don’t want any other mother to have to go through this, and that’s why I’m putting myself out there. Because this is not me. This is absolutely not me, being in front of all of these cameras and having all these people converge into my life.”
Supporters, some who had driven in from out of state, crowded the courtroom Wednesday. The court did not take action on defense attorney Michael Hughes’ request for the case to be dismissed and will revisit the issue early next year. County Attorney Rick Stulz, who brought the case, did not appear in court and the attorney representing the county said she would respond to the request for dismissal after the New Year.
Trey was with her in the courtroom, and the 15-year-old smiled shyly at the banks of cameras and reporters who turned out for a case that has drawn national and international attention. Before he tried the cannabis oil, his mother said, the muscle spasms from his traumatic brain injury would leave him curled in a fetal position or in so much pain he would punch the walls or hit himself hard enough to break his nose and crack his collarbone. The improvement after he tried the marijuana tincture — which the family bought legally from a dispensary in Colorado — was dramatic, his mother said.
“This simply is not a situation where someone has endangered their child,” said Hughes, an attorney from Oregon who volunteered to defend Brown. The statute, he said, was meant to protect children found in meth houses, not a child swallowing drops of cannabis oil to help with the seizures and pain he has suffered since being hit by a baseball line drive three years ago.