In June, 2015, a Kansas mother was charged with multiple counts relating to marijuana and one count of child endangerment. The 37-year-old lost custody of her son for using cannabis to treat her debilitating Crohn’s illness. While marijuana use in some forms is legal in 38 states, the possession and use of medicinal marijuana is illegal in Kansas. Sadly, this means that parents are losing custody of their children for therapeutic drug use when some, like the Kansas mother, can drive an hour to a different state that allows such use.
The Kansas mother in this case has undergone seventeen surgeries and experimented with numerous prescribed medications and narcotics for Crohn’s disease. With doctors running out of medical options, she tried marijuana on her own and her healing process began. Using concentrated cannabis to treat her illness, the mother became a medicinal marijuana advocate and wrote a book detailing her struggles with her condition, Live Free or Die: Reclaim Your Life…Reclaim Your Country.
During an anti-drug presentation at school, the woman’s 11-year-old son defended his mother’s drug use claiming that smoking pot helps her treat her disease and that she regularly uses drugs in the home. School officials reported the boy’s story to local authorities and police obtained a warrant to search the home. Evidence of drug activity and marijuana was found by police while conducting the search in the residence. The child was placed in protective custody immediately because drug paraphernalia was noticed in the kitchen, within reach of the child, and his mother was accused of child endangerment.
The boy has yet to be reunited with his mother since the events last March. The district attorney’s priority is the safety and well-being of the child, but some might wonder if the mother’s medicinal pot use or the separation from her will cause more damage to the boy.
Parents and caregivers have a responsibility to keep children safe from unreasonably dangerous situations, mistreatment or neglect. When an adult engages in activity that places a child in an unhealthy or inappropriate environment and the child is in imminent danger, child endangerment charges against the adult may be filed. Child endangerment is a crime in every state and can lead to loss of child custody or visitation rights with the child’s best interest at hand.
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