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Mother charged with treating son with medical cannabis rejects offer to settle, says not guilty of child endangerment

Angela Brown (left) greeted supporters outside the district court in Montevideo prior to her court appearance on Monday morning.

MONTEVIDEO — Lac qui Parle County’s case against a Madison mother who treated her son with medical cannabis appears headed to trial, after the defense rejected an offer to settle the case during an appearance in district court in Montevideo on Monday.

Defense Attorney Michael Hughes said Angela Brown, 38, is not guilty of child endangerment and would not offer a plea as part of a settlement offer. Speaking after Monday’s brief court hearing, Hughes said that the prosecution offered a one year stay of adjudication if Brown pleaded guilty.

Brown is charged with gross misdemeanor charges of endangering a child, permitting to be present when possessing a controlled substance; and contribute to need for child protection.

Hughes, of Bend, Oregon, asked the court to schedule an omnibus hearing to determine if there was probable cause for the charges. He also indicated his intent to file motions seeking dismissal of the charges. Among the motions he intends to file is “an interest of justice’’ claim that the charges should be dismissed since Minnesota has approved legislation that will allow for the use of medical cannabis beginning July 1, 2015.

About 20 supporters of Brown held signs outside the Chippewa County courthouse in support of Brown prior to the morning hearing, and they joined Brown, her son, Trey, and husband, David in the courtroom.

Lac qui Parle County filed the charges June 19 after Brown had surrendered a tincture of cannabis oil to a Lac qui Parle Sheriff’s deputy. Brown said the oil helps relieve the chronic pain and muscle spasms her 15-year-old son suffers. He suffered a traumatic brain injury when struck by a baseball in 2011. He experiences migraines and severe muscle aches and spasms, according to the family.

Angela and David Brown said they’ve received support from across the state and beyond since she was charged. Supporters outside of the Chippewa County courthouse on Monday included Brandon Borgos, an independent party candidate for attorney general, and Patrick McClellan, of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.  McClellan had testified to state legislators about his use of medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms resulting from muscular dystrophy.

McClellan, of Bloomington, said he was “outraged’’ when he learned that Brown had been charged for using medical cannabis to treat her son after Minnesota approved legislation that will allow for its use. He called on Governor Mark Dayton to speak out on behalf of Brown. He stated that in a meeting with the governor during the legislative session, Dayton had expressed his understanding for parents who turn to medical cannabis to treat their children.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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