Medical Cannabis Parents Getting Caught Up with Child Endangerment Charges
As cannabis laws shift at a rapid clip across the country, medical cannabis patients seem to be unexpectedly caught in a web of child protective services. Such was the case for Shawnee Anderson according to Al Jazeera America. An argument over a dirty diaper turned into a loud couple’s squabble, prompting a neighbor to call the police. The fight proved to be the least of their worries as police found remnants of their medical cannabis. The couple spent five days in jail and have been fighting while their son was placed in foster care for nearly two weeks.
This story is not unusual for parents in the 23 states where medical cannabis is legal. While it is legal for medical purposes, civil issues like family law are proving tricky. The article notes that “Meanwhile, low-income families of color are more likely to face neglect charges involving pot, as they tend to live in more heavily policed neighborhoods and give birth in hospitals that may be more likely to conduct drug testing on newborns.”
As we have reported before, the lack of Civil Gideon means there is no requirement that the government provide legal services for people who cannot afford them. This puts low-income families at a significant disadvantage when going up against state child advocates well-versed in the court system. Without legal counsel, parents may lose custody of their children simply for legally consuming a drug.
See more on the story here, “Parents face child abuse investigations over pot use.”
We also recommend following the national story on Shona Banda who is fighting for custody of her son, and against felony charges that could put her in jail for 3 decades. See “This Mom Faces Prison For Medical Marijuana.”