Butte County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Greeson re-filed child abuse charges in April 2012 against medical cannabis patient Daisy Bram — for breast feeding.
Bram, mother of two now expecting her third, and husband Jayme Walsh were arrested in September 2011 for medical marijuana. At the time of their arrest, their youngest son, Zeus, was just three weeks old. Butte County Deputies raided the home, and Child Protective Services (CPS) literally ripped the baby out of his weeping mother’s arms. The couple, both qualified patients, were taken into custody, the children (Zeus and his 18-month-old brother, Thor) were taken from the home, and their parents charged with child abuse and endangerment, criminal cultivation, manufacturing a controlled substance (concentrated cannabis) and possession for sale.
“Deputies surmised that, due to the presence of some loose marijuana on the floor, the couple should be booked for child abuse and endangerment. Notably, as was shown at a later hearing, there was no evidence that the children, then respectively 1-1/2 years and two months old, had ever touched marijuana. The children were healthy, happy, well-adjusted, and apparently completely unaffected by any exposure to cannabis,” said Michael Levinsohn, Bram’s attorney.
At the preliminary hearing, Levinsohn got the allegations of child abuse and endangerment dismissed.
The court, however, maintained that the couple may have been cultivating marijuana illegally, and the case is now in the trial stage. Despite all criminal charges of child abuse being dropped, the children remained in the custody of CPS and the DA simply re-filed the charges.
The second preliminary hearing date considering the same child abuse charge is set for June 11. Dr. William Courtney, a well respected supporter of medical cannabis, will testify on Bram’s behalf.
Bram took an unprecedented stance against CPS, flooding the Internet with images of her and her children, and releasing the police recording of her gut- wrenching screams as her children were taken away. After almost five months, her children were finally returned, and the couple allowed to use medical cannabis.
Attracting attention through Facebook and their website, freemybabies.org, the family has received enormous support from the community. Not one court appearance has gone by without numerous patients sitting in the courtroom. Although Walsh is representing himself, and Levinsohn is representing Bram pro bono, the costs for the family from this type of persecution are high, both emotionally and financially. Numerous people have donated time and money to ensure that this family stays together.
“I think Daisy Bram is the Mother Jones of medical cannabis patients. She is a wonderful parent, who deserved to get her children back, and is still able to use medical cannabis,” Levinsohn said.
“Her case has become an inspiration for many others, and rightly so.”