State presents expert witness against Banda

Shona Banda in court on Friday

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Shona Banda, who claims she needs medical marijuana for her condition, was in court again today.

The judge heard from a potential expert witness that the prosecution wants to testify.

Banda’s expert witnesses were presented at a hearing last month, where they defended the medical benefits of cannabis.

Today, it was the Assistant County Attorney’s turn.

“My interest and specialty is in the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Dr. Harry Thomas, a gastroenterologist, “namely Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.”

The heart of Banda’s defense is showing that she needed cannabidiol to treat her Crohn’s disease, which the state hopes to refute.

Prosecutor Nick Vrana first set up the doctor’s expertise with Crohn’s disease.

“Patients frequently do need medical therapy on a long-term basis,” said Thomas, “because to date, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease.”

Then, Vrana asked about the importance of testing and approving drugs before use.

“The purpose of phase two trials is to confirm that the product is safe and also to look for signs of efficacy or effectiveness,” said Thomas.

The state’s ultimate goal is arguing that there is no justification for Banda’s actions.

“In the field of gastroenterology,” asked Vrana, “is marijuana used to treat Crohn’s disease?”

“It is not a standard treatment for Crohn’s disease,” said Thomas.

Judge Wurst will make a determination at a later date which expert witnesses will be allowed to testify.

Because, of the high-profile nature of the case, 75 potential jurors will be called in, in an attempt to qualify 39.

The defense and prosecution can each challenge 13 of them, leaving 12 jurors and an alternate.