A Cleveland, Ohio magistrate recently ordered a newborn baby to be confiscated from her family because her mother drank reportedly non-psychoactive marijuana tea to ease her labour pains. The decision to remove the child from her parents’ home came despite the opinion of the county’s child services agency that the baby should stay with her family.
Hollie Sanford and her husband Daniel welcomed their daughter, Nova, in late September; and to do so, Hollie opted to use a marijuana tea to lessen the pains of childbirth. After researching her options, she concluded the tea would be safer than other pain treatments. To be sure, use of painkillers and opiates during pregnancy has led to increased rates of withdrawal among newborns.
According to Sandford’s attorney, Joseph Jacobs, the tea did not contain any psychoactive components, but was simply a metabolite of marijuana.As Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer summarized, Jacobs described the metabolite as “a molecule that remains in the system after marijuana use that crossed over through the mother’s placenta.”
That metabolite appeared in postpartum urine tests for both Hollie and Nova, so the government stepped in.
First, a Cuyahoga County worker visited the family’s home to follow up on the positive test results — a repeat occurrence from two years ago, when the couple’s first son was born. Though Hollie drank the tea at that time, their son was never removed from the home, so they were not concerned this time around. The Sanfords say they cooperated during the recent visit concerning Nova, so they were surprised when over two weeks ago, they received less than 24 hours’ notice for a juvenile court hearing regarding Hollie’s use of the marijuana tea.