Infants and toddlers are vulnerable to negligence and abuse by marijuana-using parents. How are older children vulnerable? In Gresham, Oregon on September 25, a mother suffering from anxiety who used marijuana several times a day, shot and killed her 17-year-old son. The recently-divorced mom was losing her home, had quit her job and was suffering from anxiety. The stress of her situation is understandable, but marijuana is the wrong way to cope with stress. It ultimately increases anxiety and can lead to psychosis, too.
Since 2011, at least 68 people were treated for burns caused by butane hash oil fires and explosions, at northern California burn centers, including Shriners Hospital for Children, Sacramento, and at the UC Davis Regional Burn Center.
Usually those making BHO suffer the most, but several times it has happened at homes with children. The most recent baby who was badly burned in a hash oil (BHO) explosion was a 19-month old boy at a student housing complex in Montana. The law has not kept up with the problem, as parents who engage in this deadly practice still have custody and visitation rights. Children are threatened by neighbors who do it, too.
Thanks to quick emergency response and to the quality of emergency medical treatment available in the United States, it appears that all of the children have survived. However, we have raised a group of young adults who are so accustomed to hearing “marijuana is safe” that they have no notion of the need to protect children from the dangers pot involves.
It also happened last year in a state without a legal marijuana program. In Pennsylvania woman pled guilty to leaving her 3-year-old twins to die in a fire while she left the house to see whether her marijuana had been stolen by her 15-year-old daughter. Police say the boys turned on a burner on a grease-covered stove, sparking flames that soon engulfed the house.
As California Gov Jerry Brown has said, the world is too dangerous a place for Americans not be alert by using pot. This concept applies to parenthood. Parenthood is too large a responsibility for us not to protect our children. We need not expose small children to the manufacture of BHO or put them in the care of parents who prioritize marijuana over their children. However, when neighbors make hash oil, parents may have no warnings.
Our tolerance for marijuana has taught a new generation of young adults that marijuana is safe. Making BHO is mainly done in western states, but the explosions have happened in Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, Chicago, Michigan, Virginia, Houston. It will spread east if we don’t watch out. No longer should anyone say, “safer than alcohol” or “it’s just pot.” We have sent the wrong message, and need to replace it with a message that parenting and pot use do not mix.