Virginia Governor Youngkin vetoes cannabis parental rights bill

Cannabis advocates fight to prohibit parental pot use from being part of child protective services and custody agreements. NORML has long pushed for this legislation, but Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia saw right through this sham.  

On  March 8, the governor vetoed a bill that had the potential to prevent parent marijuana use from consideration in child protection, visitation and custody!  This is a win for child safety, keeping Virginia in line with the international treaties on the rights of children. Read Legal Drugs are Fashionable — and Treacherous for Children.

The governor should also veto a bill to commercialize marijuana.  Virginia legalized marijuana in 2021, but does not have recreational pot stores. We urge our followers in Virginia to send this form asking the governor to veto the bill

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida recently commented on the negative aspects of a Florida ballot to legalize pot. He mentioned the failures of other states and horrendous smell from public smoking, but does not mention the dangers to children.  

His veto is important for many reasons

Virginia had two appalling instances of marijuana use affecting the ability to parent — recently.   In one case, the mother of a six-year-old lied about marijuana use on her gun ownership application.  The boy shot and severely wounded his 1st grade teacher, in an incident that made national news.

In another case, a four-year-old overdosed on his mother’s THC gummies and died two days later.  No doubt the governor was thinking of these preventable tragedies, but the state legislators who supported the cannabis parental rights bill had short memories!

We mention the importance of Governor Youngkin’s veto for many reasons.  As of January 2024, we’ve tracked 312 child abuse deaths related to cannabis in the United States over the past 11 years.

Our followers and advocates have seen firsthand how more parental pot use has impacted child abuse and neglect.

One mother from Oregon mother contacted Parents Opposed to Pot about this problem after Oregon legalized cannabis.  The boy’s father grew marijuana, using it to make “dabs” in the residence where her son went for visitation every other weekend.  She objected to visitation under these circumstances.  The judge sympathized but told her nothing could be done since Oregon had legalized marijuana and allowed home grows.

Another child in Colorado, Jesse James Bullard was killed by his stoned father who operated a marijuana lab in his home.  (He was on visitation, and a judge told the mother that she had to allow visitation.)

In his veto message, Governor Youngkin wrote: 

“The proposed legislation has potential consequences that may expose children to harm,” He noted that circumstances are nuanced and the blanket nature of the right to use cannabis won’t protect the children.

He stated, “The inherent risk of unintended consequences, potentially endangering child safety by dissuading local departments of social services from implementing necessary protective measures, disrupts the balanced approach of current CPS policies, thus jeopardizing the well-being of vulnerable children.”

“The proposal undermines the tangible link between substance use and harm to children, evident in the increased calls to poison control and emergency room visits for children consuming cannabis-infused substances following the authorization of personal marijuana possession. The blanket exemption further places children at risk by potentially endangering their welfare.”

At the end he said, “This is a significant threat to child safety, potentially shielding parents engaging in substance possession or consumption from scrutiny.” 

Governor Youngkin may be aware that marijuana is the number one drug in child deaths, mentioned in another article.

Other states need to guard against the marijuana industry trying to pass similar bills.