You hear of people moving mountains to achieve their goals. That might not apply in Kansas, but whatever the prairie equivalent is, Amber Ostrom did it several times over in the eighteen-month fight to regain custody of her daughter, Georgia. A chain of events anchored on both ends by laws that infringe on a person’s natural right to grow, consume, and sell a non-toxic medicinal plant, Cannabis sativa, got the ball rolling. Solutions Institute’s Bobby Rodrigo brought Amber and Georgia’s story to our attention and we got to work on fundraising while he continued direct assistance and publicity work on their behalf.
It began when the people of a Colorado town bucked the state trend and voted to eject all of the town’s legal marijuana businesses, one of which was Amber’s. Amber was not just a Cannabis business owner, she was a patient who used marijuana to prevent epileptic seizures with minimal side effects. With her business gone, she thought about Georgia’s health as well as her own, and decided to move to Arizona for a climate that would keep Georgia, who has rheumatoid arthritis, as comfortable and healthy as possible, and allow legal access to marijuana and jobs in her area of expertise.
In Arizona, she found a job in a well-run medical Cannabis dispensary. She worked long hours to earn what she needed to establish a home and make up for lost income and the expense of moving. It was good for her wallet, but she felt it was not good for her daughter. She arranged for her stepbrother and his wife to take Georgia into their Kansas home for one school semester, allowing her to work the hours required to get back on her feet.
The arrangement started off well, but Amber’s stepbrother didn’t let it end well. When the semester was over and Amber was about to leave for Kansas to retrieve Georgia, she got a call from the sheriff in her brother’s town, who told her Georgia was in state custody. Her brother had decided that because Amber used and sold Cannabis, she was an unfit mother, and started a legal process that resulted in the devastating phone call.
Bobby Rodrigo, a journalist, radio host and SI adviser, wrote the story of how that happened, and what followed, with compassion and attention to the eye-opening (il)legal details. It’s not a cautionary tale, because Amber broke no laws and did nothing wrong. It’s a nightmare come true.
Not long after Bobby posted his article, someone on the other side softened up and a compromise was offered. Amber agreed to a six-month probationary period with Georgia in Arizona, and on September 23, after 18 months and $11,000, she brought her home. She and her daughter are enjoying a warm, secure reunion.
Bobby Rodrigo deserves a round of applause for his in-depth reporting of Amber’s story on his site, I Take Liberty with My Coffee, and on Fifth Column News. Bobby did a lot more, but didn’t crow about it in his article. He met Amber in Colorado to discuss her case, worked with her legal team, assisted with the GoFundMe page, spread the word to news agencies, and covered the events on his blogspot radio show, I Take Liberty with My Coffee, the official radio network of Coffee Party USA.
We encourage you to visit Amber’s GoFundMe and donate if you can. Inevitably, bills have stacked up and she is planning to take legal action against the parties involved in the lawless assault on her autonomy. Sharing Amber and Georgia’s story is another way to help.
Regarding Cannabis, we have to make it known that using marijuana as a medication, whether for epilepsy, insomnia, pain, or other indications, doesn’t make someone an unfit parent. Amber Ostrom is as fit as they come, and she more than proved it in the last year and a half. All of us at Solutions Institute wish her and Georgia the unrestricted enjoyment of their own lives going forward.
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