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Angela Brown to be on 'The View' after giving son pot

Angela Brown, right, mugs for a photo with Whoopi Goldberg at ABC studios in New York City. The Madison woman recently taped a segment for “The View.” (Submitted photo)

MADISON — A mother’s belief that she is doing the right thing to help her son has put her afoul of the law in Lac qui Parle County, and catapulted her into the national limelight.

Angela Brown recently returned from New York City, where she met Whoopi Goldberg and her co-panelists on the ABC television program “The View.” Brown, 38, of Madison, and a physician were guests for an episode that she was told will be aired on ABC at 10 a.m. this Friday or possibly next Friday, on Nov. 21.

It was a contentious discussion, according to Brown. She advocated for the use of medical cannabis.

While in New York City, she also met with Tom Berman, producer of the ABC documentary news program 20/20. Berman wants to document Brown, husband David and children as they defend her in the local courts on two gross misdemeanor charges: endangering a child — permitting to be present when possessing a controlled substance; and contribute to the need for child protection.

Conviction on both charges could result in a sentence of two years in prison and a $6,000 fine.

Her story is now one she has told over and over to a wide variety of state and national media outlets. She is accused of giving her 15-year-old son Trey medical cannabis to treat his pain from a traumatic brain injury.

She refutes the accusation of child endangerment. Attorney Michael Hughes of Bend, Oregon, has offered his help as the case works its way through the legal system.

“How can someone be charged with child abuse when they are actually helping their child?’’ is Brown’s response to the charge.

While she has no hesitation about defending the care she provided her son, she is taking on her public role in the debate over medical cannabis with great reluctance. She is by nature an introvert, she said, and would much rather have been at home during Monday’s snowstorm making chili for her children and operating her massage therapy business in Madison than being stranded in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she landed after the whirlwind trip to New York.

Yes, it was fun meeting Whoopi Goldberg, she said, but life in the limelight is hardly the joyride some might think. She spent hours inside airport terminals for the eight minutes of debate that may be aired on “The View.” Her antagonist rolled her eyes at her and made statements during the taping that Brown said are not true, leaving her frustrated with the experience.

She had enough time in New York City to drive by Central Park, see the fountains in Lincoln Square at night, and look down at the Statue of Liberty from the air.

ABC paid for the tickets and lodging, but the $150 in food bills during two days of travel were hers.

And so is the anguish that comes with the court battle and the financial challenges that come with spending time away from her work. She said the time and other constraints have kept her from eating right, and getting the right balance of exercise and work time.

“It has nothing to do with fame,’’ she said. “I want to be able to give Trey what he needs. I want to be able to give my child a life. He deserves to not have pain. He should be allowed to be treated, medicated in the healthiest way possible. That is what I want to be able to give my son, his life back.’’

It’s not just news reporters or television celebrities seeking her out since news of the charges in Lac qui Parle County reached the public domain either. Brown said she is also hearing from many people who are caring for loved ones and looking to medical cannabis in hopes it can provide help for the symptoms that other prescribed medications are not.

One man called her asking for help treating the pain his 43-year-old brother suffers with terminal pancreatic cancer. Two neighbor women in Madison told her they are waiting for the availability of medical cannabis to treat the chronic pain they experience.

She told them that Minnesota’s law will not allow cannabis to be used for pain.

Minnesota’s law will allow medical cannabis for sufferers of cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, ALS and seizures among other conditions. The legislation does direct the commissioner of health to consider adding other conditions, including “intractable pain.”

Brown said the lack of that provision means that about 80 percent of those who could benefit from medical cannabis will not be able to do so, she said.

That is among the points she makes when reporters come calling, but she said there are other points that also need to be made. All of this has been very hard on her family and, she said, very unfair to her other two children and a granddaughter. She returned from her last court appearance in September to find her 10-year-old son afraid that his mother would be whisked away to jail.

She tries to take most of her phone calls away from her children so that they don’t have to hear the stories. Telling her story can be hard on her too. “I can’t go through a healing process if I keep reopening the wounds,’’ she said.

“There better be something good that comes of this,’’ she said of the challenge she has taken on, “because I’m tired.”

But she remains committed. “No one should have to choose between the law and their child’s life,’’ she said.

Tom Cherveny

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

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