Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The fourth and final planned presentation (both this week and for the semester) by a student in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar will look closely at the intersection of marijuana use and parenting. Here’s a brief summary of the student’s approach to this topic, along with some relevant articles she assembled:
As states increasingly legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, one largely unexplored area is the complicated relationship between marijuana use and parenting. As with other substances (both legal and illicit), marijuana can have a significant impact on the lives of both parents and children. Parents who use marijuana likely have conflicting interests and may prioritize their own use over the care of their children. This could take the form of neglect, through inadequate supervision, or through misallocation of family resources to buy marijuana and other non-essentials. Parents who use marijuana also risk exposing their children to marijuana in any number of ways. Second-hand smoke is an obvious risk, as is the potential for children to gain access to marijuana (particularly edibles).
Expectant and breast-feeding mothers are also of particular concern, as there is some data linking marijuana use at these critical stages in development to a whole host of lifelong issues in children. As with most issues surrounding marijuana use, there simply is not yet enough data in this area. For example, although some studies have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to particular developmental problems, existing studies have not been able to isolate marijuana as the cause (as opposed to other drugs, nicotine, etc.). I plan on providing background on existing public health research, giving examples of how various states are dealing with this issue, and presenting issues that have not been adequately addressed by research or policy.