In one case, an Arizona mother was charged with child neglect for using medical marijuana during pregnancy. The mother says she used cannabis to help her cope with debilitating morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy. It’s unclear whether the drug helped or not, but one thing is certain: this sets a precedent that could affect future mothers across the country who rely on medicinal weed for their health and wellness needs.
The case goes back to 2014 when an unnamed woman in Glendale, AZ gave birth to a baby boy. According to court documents, she tested positive for marijuana at the hospital and was then reported to child services. This is when the state intervened and placed her son into foster care. However, they didn’t stop there.
Instead of putting her child in a safe and healthy home, they also charged her with two felonies: child abuse and marijuana possession.
What’s more is that this incident took place when Arizona had yet to legalize cannabis for medicinal use! But according to the mother, she relied on it to treat her debilitating morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy and was under a doctor’s supervision the whole time.
According to her lawyer, she was never under any legal obligation to disclose this information. But this didn’t stop them from fining her $500 dollars for marijuana possession and taking away her parental rights on top of it. This means that she is now unable to visit, call or even know what happens with her child.
Thankfully, District Judge James Keppel did something that nobody else had done before: acknowledge that cannabis is a legitimate medicine and that the state cannot go around taking children away from their mothers based on this alone. He even said “If we’re trying to strictly enforce the letter of the law — it seems like we’re chasing after a problem that doesn’t exist.
However, this whole situation is still not ideal. Even if the judge recognized the medicinal benefits of cannabis and even allowed for a stay-away order from her son to be lifted, child services isn’t convinced. They still believe she poses a risk to her baby and will continue to fight against any requests from her.
The fact of the matter is that child services is not taking this case lightly and will do everything they can to take her baby away from her. So let’s hope the courts side with the mother here because it’s discrimination, plain and simple! A woman who uses cannabis while pregnant should be celebrated for having a healthy child rather than torn apart and threatened.
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