does smoking marijuana count as child endangerment?
In November 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Adults age 21 or older within the state are now permitted to grow, use, and possess up to one ounce of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol without criminal consequences. While cannabis has been decriminalized in most circumstances throughout the state, this does not mean that child protective services will not investigate a person’s home if a neighbor or other individual reports them as a pot-smoking parent.
The legalization of marijuana has made child safety a major concern for legislators, child welfare agencies and other advocates. Any intoxicant used by a parent must be used responsibly with a child’s wellbeing as a top priority. Exactly like alcohol, a parent cannot abuse marijuana and expect to be seen as a suitable parent. While getting high in a home setting is indeed legal, it must be done sparingly and discretely from children in order to not raise any concerns with the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS does not want parents to smoke marijuana in front of their minor children under any circumstances.
In the event that a parent is reported to child protective services for smoking marijuana, a representative will be sent to their house to inspect the child’s living situation. The following will be taken into account when determining whether or not a child is in danger:
- The child’s cleanliness and visual welfare
- The amount of marijuana in the home
- The child’s accessibility to marijuana
- The odor of cannabis in the home
If a DHS representative or police officer deems that a parent’s marijuana use is interfering with their ability to care for their child, they may decide to remove the child from their care and place them with a relative or foster home.
If you have been accused of child endangerment for smoking marijuana and are now faced with a juvenile dependency situation, a Denver family lawyer from The GEM Family Law Firm can fight to protect your rights as a parent and your child’s wellbeing. No matter how severe your situation may appear, we can provide the compassionate and powerful legal support you need to help you keep your family intact.