Drug Policy

Should Pot-Growing Parents Lose Their Kids? If You Think So, Watch This Vid


To paraprhase John Lennon, "Drug War is Over (If You Want It)."

But even as a majority of Americans believe pot should be treated like booze and beer, Colorado and Washington state move forward with full legalization, and Illinois prepares to become the 19th state to approve medical marijuana, people's lives are still being wrecked by stupid, ineffective, and anti-freedom drug laws.

Watch the video above for a case in point. It details how law enforcement in California (the first state in the nation to OK medical marijuana) has taken kids away from their mother—all in the name of the drug war.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning, the video originally aired on May 16 (go here for more links, resources, and downloadable versions). Here's the writeup:

As her children were being taken away from her, Daisy Bram screamed, "My babies! My babies!"

In 2011, Daisy Bram and Jayme Walsh lived with their two small children, Thor and Zeus, in Butte County, California. Like so many other people in northern California, Bram and Walsh had medical marijuana recommendations and a small cannabis garden in their back yard. In September, their home was raided by Butte County sheriffs. Bram and Walsh were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to sell, and child endangerment. Thor and Zeus were taken by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care for four months.

A year later, Bram gave birth to their third son, Invictus. With their Butte County cases still unresolved, Bram and Walsh decided to move their family to neighboring Tehama County.

In January of 2013, Tehama County sheriffs raided Bram and Walsh's new home. This time they found a cannabis garden in a locked room off the back of the house. Child Protective Services once again seized Bram and Walsh's children and placed them in foster care, where they remain to this day. On January 30, Tehama County officers seized Bram's car. Walsh is currently in jail with bail set at one million dollars. Bram is out on bail awaiting future court dates.

"There is nothing worse that someone can be accused of than doing something to harm their own children. If someone from the government is going to come after someone and make that accusation, they better have the ammunition ready to go," said Michael Levinsohn, Daisy Bram's attorney.

Learn more about Daisy's story at Green Aid and The Human Solution.

Approximately 7.5 minutes.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

NEXT: Federal Appeals Court Says Shorter Crack Sentences Must Be Retroactive

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  1. All Hail the drug warriors! Now what about the witches? Shouldn’t all the witches be burned, too? Witches can’t be good mothers either, we all know that, because Government Almighty told us so! All Hail!!!

    1. People have lost their kids for being obese — sometimes the kid is obese, sometimes the parent.

      1. Seriously? That’s appalling.
        Obesity isn’t healthy, but it’s not going to KILL the kid, not until the kid is like 50 and the kid hasn’t overcome the problem.
        This is ridiculous.

  2. uhg. I guess now I’m ready for my 2 minutes hate the government for today.

  3. I love one of the NewsMax headlines to the right.
    3 Odd Vegetables Help Destroy Abdominal Fat
    It turns out to be one of those cartoon “whiteboard” ads that go on forever.

  4. Thor and Zeus? Really? At least stick to one pantheon. It would have been more awesome had they gone with some lesser known but still cool mythological names like Quetzalcoatl, Cthulhu, Kali, or maybe Dagda…but especially Cthulhu.

    1. The third kid was named Invictus. Even so, she shouldn’t have lost her kids.

      1. A victorian-era poem?

        1. How much do you want to bet that the foster parents renamed the kids something else because they thought their real names weren’t “good” names?

          1. And what if they gave them Heinleinesque names like…

            Oh, I’d like that!

  5. Was sorta hoping they would add stuff to address the DDA’s comments that were posted in the other video here.

    Also I still think they should have named the third kid Raiden.

  6. https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..nt_3753640

    I don’t know if this comment is accurate, but it paints a different picture then the video.

    1. Thanks for posting that link, it certainly does show that (as always) there are at least two sides to every story.

      I don’t like this recent trend of reposting pieces with new comment sections on H&R. Had it not been for noble fellow commenter Virginian, I wouldn’t have known about the post from the agent. (hat-tip)

      1. ……….

    2. Yes, it does paint a different picture.

      Makes ya think twice when Reason writers mock “for the children” legislation.

      Looks like Reason can’t help but use the same syrupy emotionalism.

      I certainly feel horrible for these kids; their parents are narcissists.

      1. I think the video would have been better to address the case made by the DA (assuming everything he posted is true), otherwise if feels like an inconvenient part that had to be left out because it didn’t fit the narrative.

        I hope the Reason producers who made the video can comment on this some time next week.

        Transparency and whatnot.

    3. More details from the community where these poor misunderstood parents were first arrested:

      That’s what bothers me about some pot growers. They’re bad neighbors. While researching the issue over more than a year, I’ve encountered too many people who have felt threatened, intimidated and harassed in their own neighborhood.

      They were sadly quiet during the Measure A campaign. There was plenty of money spent on the “No on A” side. (And why not? Growers who sell the pot illegally had a lot at stake.) There was barely a campaign mounted by the “Yes on A” proponents.

      I talked to a few of them during the campaign. They wanted to write letters to the editor, but they didn’t want their names attached. One person in Durham asked to send a letter “signed” by a neighborhood (e.g., “The residents of Hillview Drive”), which we also wouldn’t allow.

      “Why would you do that when each of the people can send in letters individually?” I asked.

      The answer: People were afraid the growers on the street would retaliate.


    4. It paints a different picture, until I remember that the laws being put in place, and reinforced by case law, that allows the state to kidnap children over drug use will be eventually used to kidnap children over religious belief, or political stances.

    5. From his comment:

      Tehama County officials apparently developed information indicating that Ms. Bram purchased the vehicle she was driving on January 29, 2013 with proceeds from drug sales, and seized it.

      uhhh what?

      That’s apparent because they seized the vehicle, it’s not apparent that they’ve shown any evidence and I would most certainly appreciate some. Of course, as we know, once your assets are seized under these rules the onus rests on YOU to prove there providence.

  7. Growing a PLANT is “child endangerment”.

    1. When I was kid, my parents grew poppies. Of course, they were clueless about there been any use for them beyond being nice flowers.

    2. If you read the comments on the previous story, it was far, far more than that.

      1. To repost
        “Jeff C. Greeson| 5.17.13 @ 1:46AM |#

        Ms. Bram’s children were not removed from her custody because of marijuana use. They were removed when Ms. Bram and Jayme Walsh, the man Ms. Bram describes as her common-law husband, were arrested. When no qualified nearby relatives were located, social services placed the children in foster care.

        The criminal child abuse charges against Ms. Bram were based on an unsafe home due to broken Pyrex dishes and razor blades coated with hash, syringes with Xanax residue, and a “Twister” high-volume bud trimmer, all located in an area accessible by the older child. There was also marijuana bud located in multiple locations where the older child could reach, generator cables running through water puddles in the back yard near piles of toys, and text messages on Jayme Walsh’s phone arranging marijuana sales with people in Pennsylvania.
        The defense has provided no evidence to indicate that Ms. Bram was, at the time of her arrest, a qualified patient under the Compassionate Use Act.

        Daisy Bram and Jayme Walsh are not medical cannabis patients unfairly persecuted by the state. They are interstate drug dealers, and their home was a poorly arranged industrial marijuana production facility, with needles, razors, industrial equipment, and marijuana products available to children.

        1. That guy’s a district attourney, he does not give one flying shit if those kids are better off. Which from what I’ve heard about foster care, they’re welfare isn’t being considered.

          He wants people in jail, he wants to further his career, and he wants property to confiscate so he can play again tomorrow. He’s just unlucky in the fact that most people don’t think growing dope is evil, so he has to chime in with some “broken pyrex” bullshit.

          Don’t be pulled in by the public relations efforts of someone who’d throw your ass in a pit forever if he thought it’d get him some good headlines (regardless of your guilt).

        2. And as I pointed out in the other thread, note the word “older”.

          The specified that only the OLDER child could access those things, which indicates to me that there was some barrier preventing the younger children from gaining access, and that the state DECIDED that it was insufficient to keep out the older child. That is a subjectivbe judgement on the part of the state that the older child could get into a part of the house that the younger kids couldn’t.

          This could be something as trivial as whether the child was tall enough to reach the latch on a door.

          As for the phone text messages … having text messages on your phone doesn’t endanger the child.
          Prosecute them for selling weed if you want, but don’t take their children away to punish them for selling weed.

  8. As her children were being taken away from her, Daisy Bram screamed, “My babies! My babies!”

    If she hadn’t embraced the notion that she was, you know, an adult with rights and freedoms, then this whole horrible situation wouldn’t have happened.

    1. Children have rights, too. Again, to repost

      “Jeff C. Greeson| 5.17.13 @ 1:46AM
      A detective from the Tehama County District Attorney’s office testified at Jayme Walsh’s February 13, 2013 preliminary hearing that Thor, the older child, tested negative for exposure to drugs. Invictus, the youngest child, tested positive for THC metabolites and indicated the possible presence of some kind of opiate (the results were below a “cutoff” value necessary for a definitive positive test.) Most troubling, however, was testimony regarding Zeus, the middle child. He tested positive for THC, morphine, and heroin. The mechanism of exposure is unknown.

      Tehama County officials apparently developed information indicating that Ms. Bram purchased the vehicle she was driving on January 29, 2013 with proceeds from drug sales, and seized it.

      The Tehama County case, like the case in Butte County, raises serious concerns for the health and safety of Ms. Bram and Mr. Walsh’s 3 young children. These cases are not about the medicinal use of marijuana, and they are not about breastfeeding. They are about drug dealers and the danger they pose to their children. Other than assisting in providing information, the Butte County law enforcement community has nothing to do with the allegations this couple faces in Tehama County.”

      1. A test below threshold is a NEGATIVE test. They set the thresholds there to avoid false positives. Nothing pisses me off more than raising trase level below the test thresholds and then treating that like a “positive” legally.

        Second, the youngest child’s positive test could have been due to – as you name it – breast feeding. The mom smokes weed, some traces of THC metaboloids get passed to the baby, so the baby tests positive.

        Do you really want to argue that you should have your children seized if you smoke weed while breastfeeding?

        THAT’S your standard for taking people’s kids away?

        If so, then every parent who drinks while pregnant should have their children seized at birth.

        1. If so, then every parent who drinks while pregnant should have their children seized at birth.

          Don’t give any ideas.

  9. I think the story of the bureaucrat just taking her car pretty much embodies every fucking worthless state apparatchik that has ever lived. Anyone at the DMV, and “security” for some worthless government building, and TSA fuckwad whoever scratched his ass. Once they have a moment to exercise power over you, BOY, are they going to do it and relish it. Kind of like any cop who has ever lived. Okay, time to start MY two minutes of hate….

  10. You know after watching the vid, I feel sorry for them, angry at prohibition, but the lasting aftertaste I had was (partly in light of the ‘other side of the story’, but not all) these “parents” are dumbasses. Regardless about how you feel about prohibition or CPS, I wanna ask this chick, ‘what do you want more, your friggin drugs or your kids?’ Once, is tragic, but the second time is just pure stupidity. Until it’s legalized this is the world you’re living in lady grow the fuck up and act like a responsible parent.

    1. She doesn’t exactly come across as a sympathetric figure even before you hear the state’s case.

    2. This is my feeling. I don’t think any drugs should be illegal, and while I might WANT to smoke weed, I just don’t. I love my kids too much to take the risk of getting caught, losing my job, and having them taken away, etc. My priority is to them before all else. I’ll advocate as much as I can to getting the laws repealed, but I will not take the risk before that day comes. I will not lose my kids.

  11. (Part 1 of 1) First off, CPS should take away her children just for being named Zues, Thor, and Invictus.

    All kidding aside, the “medical marijuana” program in CA is a complete and utter ruse – always has been. Unethical, immoral potheads used dying cancer patients to pass a law that’s a Trojan horse for recreational drug use. The pro-pot crowd doesn’t give a rat’s ass about glaucoma sufferers or advance stage pancreatic cancer patients – but they’re more than happy to use them to get high. I live in LA, where 435 medical marijuana “clinics” sprang up overnight. I work down the street from 2 of them. It’s funny, but they’re always filled with young, healthy 20-year old men! Did these men suddenly develop glaucoma? Are they dying of late stage cancer? It’s a joke. Every person I know with a medical marijuana card has absolutely no health problems whatsoever. There’s 8 pages of “clinic” ads int eh back of the LA Weekly with “doctors on site!” who will give you a card if you have a hangnail. The people of Los Angeles have had enough, and if the Federal government had any balls they’d be investigating this abuse of the voter-approved referendum.

    Naturally, Daisy Bram moved here to take advantage of the rouse. The article tells us she has a “medical marijuana” card, but the video conspicuously ignores the issue. Is she dying of cancer, because she looks pretty healthy to me! Where’s her glaucoma? It’s a joke, and shame on Reason for thinking its readers are too stupid to see it

  12. (Part 2 of 2)

    The plain truth is that Daisy and her husband moved from Iowa to California to use and deal drugs for recreational use. You don’t have to be a Liberal, a Conservative, or a Libertarian to know that’s not a healthy environment to raise children in. (And no amount of strategically placed children’s play equipment in the background of your interviews is going to change that – sorry).

    The quantity of plants should be disturbing enough to call in CPS. If she’s growing them to distribute, she’s breaking the law. If she’s growing them to consume, then her and her “partner” must be perpetually baked, and isn’t that a great way to raise children?! What is even more disturbing is that AFTER being arrested and having her children taken from her, she moves to another house and grows even MORE pot plants! You’d think the self-described “horror” of the first CPS visit would make her stop, but her actions prove she’s a mother who cares more about her pot than her kids.

    I’m shocked that Reason would produce such an absurdist propaganda piece. I agree with most Libertarian principles but this is a case of “being so open-minded that your brain leaks out.” If Reason is going to advocate for drug dealers raising children, your going to find your readership slipping away.

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