Hannah Nicollet for governor

This fall, Minnesota mother Angela Brown was charged for doing what any good mom would: treating her son’s traumatic brain injury.

Although the non-hallucinogenic cannabis oil she procured relieved her son’s pain and seizures, it was still a crime in the eyes of state law.

Brown and her son are just the latest victims in what is a literal war on drugs.

In May, a Wisconsin toddler was critically wounded when a flashbang grenade landed in his crib during a botched SWAT raid. Two months later, Camille Perry and Larry Arman’s dogs were killed while their children were inside sleeping during a St. Paul SWAT raid.

SWAT raids like this have become commonplace in the United States. My friends in north Minneapolis witness them regularly. Of the more than 50,000 raids conducted annually, the majority are executed to search for drugs.

One in 28 children in America have a parent incarcerated, a large portion of which are related to the drug war. Sesame Street recently added a character, Alex, whose father is in jail, to reach this growing demographic.

Of course, the sick also pay a price. Nine-year-old Anna Conte died in late July while waiting for cannabis to be legalized so doctors could use it treat her seizures. Where medicinal marijuana has been legalized, prescription drug deaths dropped by 25 percent. Cannabis manages pain safely, versus a death every 19 minutes on average from prescription drug overdoses.

I am the only major party candidate for governor calling for full marijuana legalization in Minnesota, akin to laws enacted in Colorado and Washington. My position is that drug use should be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal one.

For the record, I take drug abuse seriously. It bears significant societal costs, much like alcohol abuse and obesity. But only drug abuse is treated as a crime.

Jail cells, guns, SWAT raids and criminal records are inappropriate for non-violent drug users and addicts. According to the FBI, 87 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession only. Addicts belong in treatment, not cages.

When Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, the sky did not fall. In fact, marijuana use among teenagers in Colorado dropped slightly. Meanwhile, Colorado happily enjoys the additional sales tax revenue. It’s time to take a common-sense approach to drugs and get away from the knee-jerk, irrational response that bans a substance out of fear, misunderstanding or moral objection.