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Child Abuse and neglect deaths continue – highest count in Pennsylvania

Parents Opposed to Pot cites 256 marijuana-related child deaths in a plea not to legalize MJ.

MERRIFIELD, VA, US, March 30, 2021 — As New York and Virginia legislators move closer to marijuana legalization this week, they should consider the traffic deaths of children whose caregivers drove after using marijuana. In the Bronx, New York, Sincere Mitchell, 8, died in a crash when his father was drunk and high on THC. In Virginia, Brian Cameron Hughes died after his mother’s boyfriend crashed, admitting he had smoked marijuana before driving.

“Those pushing for cannabis legalization want to keep marijuana users from getting arrest records. But legislators need to consider the potential loss of life from THC-impaired drivers on our roads,” explains Corinne Gasper, who lost her daughter to a speeding driver with high levels of THC in his system.

Currently, law enforcement cannot adequately test or prove THC-impairment of motorists. Parents Opposed to Pot (PopPot.org), a Merrifield, VA, non-profit, finds news reports of at least 115 U.S. traffic deaths in which marijuana is the only impairing substance and many more deaths with marijuana and other drug mixtures.

Poppot.org also tracks child abuse and neglect deaths related to parent and caregiver pot use, finding 256 deaths in news reports since the first two states voted to legalize pot in 2012. This count includes deaths of 29 children that occurred because a parent or caregiver drove while impaired by marijuana and 23 who died from infant THC exposure, mainly in infants.

Marijuana, the most common drug found in child abuse or neglect deaths

Parents Opposed to Pot’s tracking is informal, based on how much information gets reported by the press. The federal government requires all states to report child fatalities related to abuse or neglect. In three states that report on specific drugs connected to such deaths, Texas, Arizona, and Florida – not states with the highest rate of pot use– marijuana consistently comes up as the number one drug, more than alcohol.

In Colorado, a father, Isaac Bullard was recently sentenced for the death of his 23-month son. After “dabbing” high potency pot one morning, he forgot to put his son in the car and backed out over him.

When PopPot.org first started tracking child abuse deaths linked to pot, Colorado and California led in the tally of deaths from late 2012 to 2015. Today, Pennsylvania leads Poppot’s count, with 25 deaths, most of them having occurred recently. Since medical marijuana was argued in the state legislature (the bill passed in April 2016), it seems that more children have been born to mothers who used during pregnancy or post-partum. Mothers using marijuana during pregnancy or postpartum pose many risks to their children, including low birth weight and breathing issues. Twelve of the Pennsylvania deaths involve THC exposure.

Marijuana impairs memory and executive functioning which can lead to poor judgement. Other side effects include: distortion of time, addiction, paranoia, anxiety and mood disorders. The worst outcome is psychosis which, if left untreated or not resolved by quitting drug use, can become schizophrenia. An adult who is high or in psychosis may fail to give adequate supervision, or may act violently towards a child.

Fires, drownings, hot cars

Eighteen children died in fires related to parents using pot. Three sets of twins, all toddlers, died in fires, either because their moms left home and abandoned them in order to acquire marijuana, or, in one case of a father given court-ordered visitation, the parent fell asleep after smoking it.

California has reported many instances of child endangerment when children were present at home marijuana labs, called butane hash oil labs. Two of 18 children who died by fire involved BHO explosions and at least three children had to be treated for BHO burns on more than half of their bodies.

Twenty-five children died from drowning, 8 of them in Florida. Adult marijuana use was a likely factor in at least 21 hot car deaths of infants and toddlers since 2013.

Parents Opposed to Pot is a 501c3 educational nonprofit based in northern Virginia. Contact at 773-322-7523 or visit the website, poppot.org, Facebook @poppotorg.


Editors Note: The number of child deaths as of 4/20/2021 is now 262 and two more deaths have occurred in Pennsylvania, a drowning and a suffocation death. See PopPot Fact Sheet on Child Abuse Deaths.

Two huge changes about cannabis and criminal justice, in the US

The good news comes from a study finding that the inequality in sentencing between blacks and white drug offenders has gone down to zero.  That conclusion was published March 15, 2021, by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The study covers the years between 2009 and 2018, and it studied the federal court, rather than state court, system.

The bad news comes from the impacts of increased cannabis potency.  Support in Colorado and Washington for potency limits is growing.  Although previous attempts failed because of the pot industry’s power, this year the potency caps may pass. Continue reading Two huge changes about cannabis and criminal justice, in the US

Weed users who committed or attempted mass violence

After the shooting deaths of 10 people in Boulder yesterday and 8 people in Atlanta last week, we beg to know what drugs may have been used by the shooters.  

The Boulder shooter’s brother described him as anti-social and paranoid, traits that often….but not necessarily… come with heavy pot use.  

What’s in that Colorado Rocky Mountain high?   As the New York Times reports, From Columbine to Boulder, Colorado has a long history of mass shootings.

Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana, one of Poppot’s allies, is calling for a national law requiring that toxicology reports be made public.  In a statement today, AALM said:  

“With the dramatic increase in the potency and use of marijuana, senseless violent acts are and will become more common.   Toxicology reports of recent mass murderers must be released to the public.”

In December, the Ventura County District Attorney released a report on the Thousand Oaks, CA, shooting and killing of 12 people.  “Toxicological testing on Ian David Long detected marijuana, caffeine, and tobacco, but no other drugs, medications or psychoactive substances.”  It’s yet another incident showing the relationship between cannabis and mass violence, a factor rarely discussed by the press.   The incident occurred in November 2019, and the full report took two years to be made public. Continue reading Weed users who committed or attempted mass violence

New York Dad says marijuana complicit in son’s heroin overdose death

By Jeffrey Veatch, originally published October 2018

September marked the 10th anniversary of my son Justin’s death at age 17 from an accidental drug overdose. The medical examiner’s report months later said it was heroin that killed him. But I have to say for Justin it all began with marijuana, and I’m angrier at marijuana than I am at heroin. Here’s why.

Jeffrey Veatch with pictures of his son in happier times.

Justin was a good student, an extremely talented musician and songwriter on the verge of completing the recording of his first original music album. On Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008, Justin spent the afternoon with people we didn’t know and came home later than expected as he readied for his first full week as a senior at Yorktown High School. He never woke up that Monday morning. Somewhere along the way that Sunday he had snorted heroin. Continue reading New York Dad says marijuana complicit in son’s heroin overdose death