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Minnesota mom who gave son pot pleads not guilty, challenges charges

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A Madison, Minnesota, mother who says she gave her 15-year-old son cannabis to treat his chronic pain pleaded not guilty to child endangerment charges.

Angela Brown and her lawyer rejected an offer to settle the case in Lac Qui Parle Court Monday, which means her trial is expected to move forward, WCCO says. The next step is an omnibus hearing, Brown said on Facebook.

Defense attorney Michael Hughes told the West Central Tribune the prosecution offered a one-year stay of adjudication if she pleaded guilty, which means a conviction wouldn't appear on her record if she complies with the conditions of sentencing.

She was charged this summer with two gross misdemeanors, including child endangerment, which carry a possible two-year prison sentence and $6,000 fine, for giving her son cannabis oil she and her husband had purchased in Colorado after an emergency room doctor had suggested it.

Brown's son, Trey, suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit in the head with a line drive during a baseball game three years ago. He still suffers severe pain, muscle spasms and seizures, but the Browns say the cannabis oil has brought their son tremendous relief from the pressure he feels in his head.

They've said that alone is worth the time they may have to spend in a courtroom.

Brown's lawyer has asked for charges to be dismissed because the Minnesota Legislature approved a medical marijuana bill earlier this year, WCCO says.

The new law, which doesn't take effect until July 2015, will give patients suffering from any of eight medical conditions access to marijuana in pill or liquid form if a doctor or physician's assistant approves.

Outside the courthouse Monday, people showed their support for Brown. They've also started a petition, which has over 400 signatures including Hannah Nicollet, the Independence Party candidate for governor, who said Monday she has signed the petition and urged elected officials to pressure prosecutors to drop the charges.

Supporters have also started a funding website to help pay for Brown's legal fees. As of Tuesday morning, it had raised over $8,000.

A national debate has unfolded in recent years about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Minnesota is one of 23 states on a growing list that permit some form of use of medical marijuana. Of those states, only two – Minnesota and New York – ban smoking the drug.

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