Sullivan mom whose son brought pot brownies to school gets 90-day suspended sentence

Posted June 04, 2013, at 8:59 a.m.
Last modified June 04, 2013, at 10:29 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Sullivan woman has received a jail sentence of 90 days, all of it suspended, for her role in an incident last fall in which her eighth-grade son took pot brownies she had baked to school and shared them with friends.

Amanda Hiser, 33, initially was charged with aggravated trafficking of a scheduled drug in the wake of the Oct. 30, 2012, incident, which resulted in several students being suspended from Mountain View School in Sullivan. That charge later was changed to aggravated furnishing of a scheduled drug, which also is a felony charge.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, however, Hiser pleaded no contest on May 23 to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, according to documents filed in Hancock County Superior Court. As part of the sentence, Hiser also was ordered to serve a year of probation, to pay a $400 fine and to pay an additional $360 in restitution to Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, court documents indicate.

Hiser, who suffers from lupus nephritis and now is licensed in Maine as a medical marijuana user, will be able to continue using marijuana to treat her illness, according to Hancock County Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett. Had Hiser been found guilty of a more severe charge it may have interfered with Hiser’s ability to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program, Kellett said Friday. The district attorney’s office was sensitive to that possibility, she added.

Hiser, contacted Monday evening by phone, declined to comment on the matter, saying she did not want to do so while her son is in custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Her son has been in DHHS custody since the incident last fall.

According to Kellett, Hiser’s son told police that his mother had made the brownies for him to try but that she did not give him permission to take them to school to share with friends. Kellett said Hiser’s use of marijuana for medicinal purposes didn’t factor heavily in the allegations because, even if she had been a licensed medical marijuana user at the time of the incident, she isn’t supposed to share it with anyone else, especially her 13-year-old son.

“She does have serious health issues [but], you don’t give it to people you’re not supposed to,” the prosecutor said.

Hiser’s attorney, Ferdinand Slater, disagreed with Kellett’s assertion that Hiser had made the brownies for her son to try. The endangerment conviction, he said Monday, appropriately reflects the fact that his client did not take suitable precautions in keeping the drug away from her son.

Slater added that even though Hiser did not have a medical marijuana user’s license when the incident occurred, she had the support of her caregivers for using the drug to treat her symptoms.

“Medically, they were all on board with it,” Slater said. “She just couldn’t afford the processing [costs for getting a license].”

The defense attorney said Hiser’s son is expected to move back in with his mother after the school year ends and that she has kept in close contact with him since he was placed in DHHS custody. He gave credit to Kellett for working out an arrangement that keeps Hiser out of jail and allows her to keep her medical marijuana user’s license.

“Mary Kellett did a great job balancing the public interest in enforcing the law with the unique circumstances of this case,” Slater said.

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