My name is Sarah Storment I am a chapter coordinator for The Human Solution International Kansas chapter. The Hess case was brought to our attention by bleeding Kansas president Lisa Sublett . As soon as I heard about this case I knew this family needed our help. Kansas is still treating patients as criminals and any amount of THC is illegal. This is her story.
On May 23rd 2019 after making homemade pizza for dinner for her family, Jennifer, her husband 39 year old Homer Wilson and their 2 sons aged 11 and 15 years old were settling in when the family received a loud knock on the door. To everyone's surprise it was the greenwood County police department. They informed Jennifer there had been a report of screams coming from the home; Jennifer assured them everyone was fine. Two of the officers entered the home saying they could see drug paraphernalia from the door. A search lead to them finding roughly 1/4 of a lb. of cannabis along with a substance in a rubber container they would claim tested positive for meth only later prove to be cannabis concentrate. Based on what the police found they arrested both parents and took the children into the Department of Family and Children custody. And a living nightmare begins for this family over a plant.
Both were held on a $50,000 bond even though Jennifer and her husband had no previous criminal record and had lived in eureka 16 years. During their stay both parents experienced serious medical problems that went untreated in the greenwood County jail.
On June 6th Jennifer was finally able to make bond only to be taken into a small room to be told her husband had a medical problem and didn't make it. She is now a widow, her children lost their father and their lives are now forever changed.
Now a widow with a criminal case she will also have to fight one of the hardest battles alone. Challenging DCF for custody of her children over child endangerment, this being something Kansas likes to do with cannabis cases.
The Human Solution International Kansas chapter had our first meeting with Jennifer and instantly knew she needed help. The public defender she was given didn't appear to have her best interest at heart so through the proceeds from fundraising she was able to hire a new attorney.
Now back to the children, aged 11 and 15 are now living with family in a different town and have just lost their father. Jennifer will have to jump through hoops to find who she needs to speak to get custody of her 2 children.
Living on a fixed income her house needed some repairs that she could not afford, which had to be done before the children would be allowed to return home.
Again an area I knew we could be of help.
Through THSI we got fundraising efforts going and put together a team. We got all of the issues DCF had with the house fixed for the children to come home, easy enough right? WRONG. It would still be almost 1 year before they would come home.
Back to the cannabis case where Jennifer is now facing multiple drug felonies as well as dealing with the death of her husband and her children not being in her care. She will face some hard decisions, fight the state and go to trial (which will take longer to get her children home?)
Or will she get it over with and take a plea?
This is the first cannabis case I have been involved in. With every court case I am watching my state bully patients as criminals and scare them into taking a plea or facing prison. This is something that has to change. Every state around us now at least has a medical cannabis program in place and we are still locking people up over a plant? Again Kansas allows 0% thc.
As with anything that goes through a court system this is a slow process made slower by covid 19 lock downs. Court was now on zoom calls so we could not be at her last court date but we made sure to stay in contact with her and got updates every step of the way.
Faced with a hard decision Jennifer decided to take a plea and was placed on 1 year of probation and charged with Felony paraphernalia and misdemeanor possession.
The children are now in the process of coming home for good and soon their nightmare will come to an end. But she still lost her husband. A year without her children and now must learn to live a whole different life.
All over a plant. That some people are making millions on while others are losing their lives over..
This is not equal. This is not united. This needs to change. Cannabis is medicine. Cannabis users are not criminals.