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The Hess Family Story

Posted by Laura Harrison on

The Hess Family Story

Medical (and even recreational) cannabis is legal in the majority of states in some sort of form, but Kansas stands as a 100% prohibition state, even federally legal CBD products with less than 0.3% has been widely debated in the state of Kansas. The prohibiting of any THC in any CBD products goes against the federally legal amount of THC of 0.3%, made legal by the Federal Farm Bill. The only thing Kansas has to offer desperate patients is a pathetic attempt to placate in an affirmative defense bill that went into effect in July. 

Recently, we heard of a story about a family absolutely devastated by the Kansas criminal justice system and their story deserves to be told in hopes that outrage pushes change. Jennifer and Homer Hess of Eureka, Kansas have had their family absolutely devastated by our unjust and archaic Kansas laws. On Thursday, May 23, 2019, police responded to the Hess home under the guise of a citizen complaint of screams coming from their home. Those screams were far from the truth considering Jennifer and her family were home for pizza night and getting ready to wind down for the night like all families do. When Jennifer Hess told police officers that all was well in their home and started to close the door, officers pushed past Hess. Hess told Freedom Leaf magazine that officers demanded she wait outside, in her night clothes, as they were getting a probable cause warrant because an officer said he saw paraphernalia in the home. Jennifer Hess said, “They made up a reason to come to my door, probably because there was no one we associate with to do a controlled buy.” Upon search of the home, officers located 293 grams of personal-use cannabis medicine. Both Jennifer and Homer were arrested and charged with the following, while being held on $50,000 bond each while their sons, Ashton, 15, and Holden, 11 were placed in state’s protective custody:

  • Marijuana distribution (24-450 grams)
  • Possession of paraphernalia with intent to manufacture/plant/cultivate a controlled substance
  • Possession of opiate, opium, narcotic or certain stimulant
  • No drug stamp for marijuana or controlled substance
  • Two charges of aggravated endangering a child, reckless situation to child (less than 18)
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Use/possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia into the human body

Homer Hess suffered from several medical diagnosis that under many state laws, would have qualified him for medical use cannabis, including; mitral valve prolapse (a heart condition), hypertension, bipolar disorder and ADHD, and also some issues with his ear. Jennifer Hess also suffers from several qualifying disorders such as fibromyalgia, severe depression, general anxiety, social anxiety and ADHD. Jennifer attests that without a doubt, they were using cannabis medicinally. Arrested on Thursday, May 23rd and held on such a high bond, it wasn’t until June 7th that Jennifer was preparing to post bond that she was taken to an interview room and told by the Greenwood County Sheriff and a KBI officer that her husband Homer had suffered a medical emergency and “didn’t make it.” She was interrogated about her husband’s medical history and then left alone for 30 minutes with no support after just having lost her husband. Homer’s cause of death was unknown and she was told it could take up to 90 days from date of death for the report to be available and that Jennifer would have to “request that from the district court.”

“Now, I’m separated from my kids and unable to be with them during this difficult time, and facing serious charges all alone. I’d like to know what makes us such a danger to society that my husband deserved to lose his life.”

-Jennifer Hess

Jennifer is currently allowed supervised visitation with her children one time per week. Her children have been placed with a family through the religious (and controversial) St. Francis that outsources foster care in the state of Kansas. Reintegration into Jennifer’s care is the ultimate goal but Jennifer has been told it could potentially be December at the earliest before she regains custody of her children. In the meantime, the state of Kansas is forcing Jennifer to pay for and undergo treatment for “substance abuse disorder” which she does not have and will have to continue to fight a massive amount of ridiculous charges through the “justice” system. The charges that Jennifer is currently facing carry some pretty heavy penalties and possible time in state’s custody. According to NORML, possession of 25-450 grams of cannabis is a felony that faces penalties of 46-83 months in jail and a maximum fine of $300,000. Cultivation is also a felony, although in Hess’ case no plants were found, just a partially put together garden tent that had never been used. Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. Kansas is one of ONLY FOUR STATES that does not allow residents to use some form of medical-marijuana.

Jennifer is being mandated to make improvements to her home as well. Canna Moms KC and several major cannabis advocates are working diligently to get the skilled labor and finances together so Jennifer can once again be reunited with her children. No one deserves to go to jail for a plant. No one deserves to die over a plant. The war on drugs has failed and its time for Kansas to move forward and away from prohibition. Too many Kansas families have paid the ultimate price of prohibition. Kansas prohibition is genocide amongst the most vulnerable and innocent of patients and families.

This is only one family’s story about how the archaic and outdated, prohibitionist laws in Kansas have cost families the ultimate price of a loved one’s life. How much longer is the Kansas government going to sit back and allow for this to happen? How many more lives will be lost at the hands of our government officials? How much longer can you sit behind your computer, silent, while people continue to lose everything over a plant? This HAS TO END!

Jennifer Hess
Status Conference
Friday, September 27, 10am CST
Greenwood County District Courthouse
311 N Main
Eureka, Kansas 67045


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