Cannabis Use During Pregnancy: Bronx Woman Wins $75K Settlement

Summary: A woman from the Bronx has been awarded a $75,000 settlement after city officials wrongfully attempted to take her baby away due to her cannabis use during pregnancy. The case highlights the ongoing debate and stigma surrounding cannabis use, especially among expectant mothers.

Bronx Woman Receives $75K Settlement After City Wrongfully Tried to Seize Her Baby Over Cannabis Use

In a recent case from the Bronx, a woman was awarded a $75,000 settlement after city officials wrongfully tried to take her baby away because of her cannabis use during pregnancy. The incident occurred when the woman tested positive for cannabis at the hospital after giving birth. City officials, acting on this information, attempted to remove the newborn from her custody.

The woman’s legal team argued that the city’s actions were based on outdated and discriminatory policies that disproportionately target and affect people because of their race. They contended that there was no evidence to suggest that the woman’s cannabis use posed any risk to her child.

The case has brought attention to the broader issue of how cannabis use is perceived and treated, especially among pregnant women. While there are concerns about potential risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, many argue that the punitive measures taken against mothers are often excessive and not based on current scientific understanding.

The settlement serves as a reminder of the need for updated policies and guidelines that reflect the evolving understanding of cannabis and its effects. It also underscores the importance of ensuring that actions taken by officials are in the best interest of the child and are not influenced by biases or outdated beliefs.

Why is it Important: The case underscores the ongoing stigma and misconceptions surrounding cannabis use, especially among pregnant women. It highlights the need for evidence-based policies and practices that prioritize the well-being of the child and the rights of the mother. The settlement also draws attention to the broader issues of racial and gender biases in the enforcement of drug policies.

Possible Outcomes: This case could lead to a re-evaluation of policies related to cannabis use during pregnancy, prompting more informed and compassionate approaches. It might also encourage other women who have faced similar situations to come forward and challenge discriminatory practices. Furthermore, the case could serve as a catalyst for broader discussions about drug policy reform and the need to address systemic biases in its enforcement.

And we would like to know what measures can be taken to ensure that drug policies are based on current scientific knowledge and are free from biases?

Source: Ganjapreneur

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

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Study: No Cannabis For Adolescents, Pregnant & Drivers

Summary: The largest health review of its kind suggests that while cannabis-based medicines may help some people, the drug is detrimental for others. Cannabidiol can help reduce seizures in epilepsy patients, and cannabis-based medicines may help with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, and in palliative care. However, cannabis use is wrong for drivers, during adolescence and early adulthood, in people prone to or with mental health disorders and when you are pregnant.

New Study on Cannabis Suggests Avoidance for Adolescents, Pregnant, and Drivers

The findings are based on an umbrella review conducted by an international expert team of gold standard studies on cannabis and health carried out over the last two decades. The review, published in the BMJ, analyzed data from 101 meta-analyses on cannabis use published from 2002 to 2022. It concluded that cannabis use was linked to poor mental health and cognition, increased the risk of car crashes among drivers, and led to poor outcomes for babies when pregnant women used the drug. The authors recommended avoiding cannabis during adolescence and early adulthood, in people prone to mental health disorders, women who are pregnant, and drivers.

Cannabidiol was found to be beneficial for people with epilepsy to help them avoid seizures. Cannabis-based medicines could also help reduce chronic pain and spasms among people with multiple sclerosis, reduce nausea and vomiting among patients with a range of conditions, and improve the sleep of cancer patients. Cannabis-based medicines were also found to improve the quality of life among patients with inflammatory bowel disease and were effective in palliative care. However, the authors stressed that the use of cannabis-based medicines was “not without adverse events”.

But at the same time, the US ministry of Health believes cannabis should be removed from schedule 1

A separate study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that marijuana users had “significant levels” of heavy metals in their blood and urine. Academics from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, who led the study, said marijuana could be an under-recognized source of lead and cadmium exposure among users.

In the UK, cannabis is a class B drug and is not legal in general. However, specialist doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis for conditions such as severe epilepsy, cancer patients suffering side-effects from certain drugs, and patients with multiple sclerosis. People can also purchase products such as CBD oil or hemp oil, but the NHS website says “there’s no guarantee these are of good quality or provide any health benefits”.

Source: The Guardian

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

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Study Shows Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Doesn’t Affect Neurodevelopment of Children

A new study has shown that cannabis use during pregnancy is not associated with differences in the neurodevelopment of children exposed to cannabis in the womb. The study, which was published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology last month, found that prenatal cannabis exposure was not associated with lower scores on neuropsychological tests in children or with autism among young adults.

“Prenatal marijuana exposure was not associated with secondary outcomes or risks of clinical deficit in any neuropsychological assessments,” the authors of the study wrote.

To conduct the study, researchers affiliated with Columbia University and the University of Western Australia, Perth used data on 2,868 children from the Raine Study, one of the world’s largest prospective cohorts of pregnancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, to analyze the progression of prenatal cannabis exposure from pregnancy through age 20. The children in the study underwent neuropsychological testing at age 10, and again as young adults aged 19 or 20.

The researchers designed the study to control for a wide range of clinical and sociodemographic factors that might affect the outcome of the results. The study was also conducted over a long time span, much longer than other studies that have attempted to investigate the potential outcomes of prenatal cannabis exposure. Because of the study’s characteristics and its robust sample size, the research helps provide a better idea of what prenatal cannabis exposure can do to unborn children.

With the study’s controls in place to account for confounding factors, the researchers found no association between exposure to cannabis in the womb and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Specifically, the authors of the study determined that prenatal exposure to marijuana “was not associated with worse neuropsychological test scores at age 10 or autistic traits at 19-20,” according to their conclusions.

The researchers noted limitations of their study, including changes in the average potency of cannabis products and evolving methods of ingesting the drug over the last few decades. The researchers studied children born between 1989 and 1992, meaning they were likely exposed to less potent cannabis than what is available today. The researchers noted that “further research is warranted in a more contemporary birth cohort with a range of neuropsychological outcomes to further elucidate the effect of prenatal marijuana exposure on neurodevelopment.”

Other Research Inconclusive

The results of previous studies investigating the effects of prenatal cannabis exposure have been inconsistent. Some studies have shown an increase in neurodevelopmental differences such as autism, ADHD and anxiety in children who were exposed to cannabis in the womb, while others have not revealed such associations.

A systematic review of available research published in 2020 found that cannabis use during pregnancy may be associated with ADHD and related symptoms such as anxiety in children exposed to cannabis in utero. A separate study published the same year found that children whose mothers used cannabis while pregnant were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with autism. However, some experts note these studies may not be reliable because of limitations including problems with the methodology of the original research the studies are based on and small sample sizes.

Like the study published last month, other research has not found associations between prenatal cannabis exposure and neurodevelopmental problems in children.

A 2021 study found no association between cannabis exposure in the womb and autism when confounding factors such as the education of the mother and the use of alcohol and tobacco were controlled for. Another study published this year found that when maternal stress, a factor associated with both autism and cannabis use, was controlled for, no association between prenatal cannabis exposure and autism was found.

Expert Recommends Caution

Cannabis use during pregnancy is controversial, with many healthcare professionals warning that it should be avoided at all costs. Some cannabis advocates argue the dangers are overstated and that using cannabis during pregnancy can help relieve symptoms of morning sickness and alleviate stress, allowing pregnant women to get the nutrition and rest they need for a healthy pregnancy, among other benefits.

Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and the author of “Seeing Through The Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth About Marijuana,” believes that there is still too much that is not known about how the drug can affect an unborn baby and cautions against cannabis use during pregnancy.

“It has not been conclusively demonstrated that cannabis is (or isn’t) safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. As such, the prudent thing to do is to presume that cannabis use, especially regular, heavy cannabis use, is unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding until we uncover reasonable evidence that it is safe,” Grinspoon writes in the book. “Given what’s at stake, the burden of proof is on cannabis in this case. That means cannabis ought to be avoided or minimized by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who might become pregnant need to be carefully educated about the risks.”

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Prenatal Cannabis Exposure Not Linked to Neurodevelopmental Deficits

Newly published data suggests that individuals who experienced prenatal cannabis exposure may not suffer neurodevelopmental deficits later in life. 

The researchers, who come from Columbia University and whose findings were published this month in Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, examined a cohort of 2,868 children born between the years of 1989 and 1992. 

“Children whose mothers provided information on marijuana use during pregnancy were included. The primary outcome was the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) at age 10. Secondary outcomes included the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND), Coloured Progressive Matrices (CPM), Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT) and Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores,” the researchers wrote. “Exposed and unexposed children were matched by propensity score using optimal full matching. Missing covariate data were imputed using multiple imputation. Inverse probability of censoring weighting (IPCW) was used to adjust for missing outcome data. Linear regression within matched sets, adjusted by IPCW, evaluated score differences between exposed and unexposed children. As a secondary analysis, modified Poisson regression, adjusted by match weights and IPCW, evaluated the risk of clinical deficit in each outcome following [prenatal cannabis exposure].”

In detailing their results, the researchers said that of “the 2,804 children in this cohort, 285 (10.2%) had [prenatal cannabis exposure]. After optimal full matching and [inverse probability of censoring weighting], exposed children scored similarly on [Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals],” they wrote, adding that prenatal cannabis exposure “was not associated with secondary outcomes or risks of clinical deficit in any neuropsychological assessments.”

“After adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical covariates, [prenatal cannabis exposure] was not associated with worse neuropsychological test scores at age 10 or autistic traits at 19-20,” they wrote in their conclusion.

The cannabis reform group NORML touted the results, pointing out that the “study’s findings are consistent with several prior cohort studies evaluating the long-term health outcomes associated with in utero cannabis exposure.”

According to NORML, a 2017 review of those prior studies showed that “evidence base for maternal-infant health outcomes of cannabis use in pregnancy is more robust than for many other substances. … Although there is a theoretical potential for cannabis to interfere with neurodevelopment, human data drawn from four prospective cohorts have not identified any long-term or long-lasting meaningful differences between children exposed in utero to cannabis and those not.”

With cannabis laws changing at a rapid rate in the U.S., studies like the one published this month will be crucial.

Last year, a troubling trend arose in Alabama, where pregnant women in the state had been jailed for smoking cannabis. 

The outlet highlighted one such case involving a 23-year-old woman named Ashley Banks, who was arrested last spring “with a small amount of marijuana and a pistol without a permit to carry.”

“Under normal circumstances, the 23-year-old from Gadsden would have been able to post bond and leave jail until her criminal trial,” the outlet reported last year. “But Banks admitted to smoking pot on the same day she found out she was pregnant – two days before her arrest. In Etowah County, that meant she couldn’t leave jail unless she entered drug rehab, leaving her in limbo for three months.”

The Washington Post reported at the time that in Etowah County “pregnant or postpartum women who are charged with endangering their fetus via drugs have to remain in jail until they complete a drug-treatment program, without an assessment of whether that condition is appropriate for them.”

The post Prenatal Cannabis Exposure Not Linked to Neurodevelopmental Deficits appeared first on High Times.

The Guide to Cannabis for Post-Abortion Pain Relief

Since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization passed, reproductive rights have been more restricted than ever. But, since people will find a way, especially thanks to the availability of medical abortion (the abortion pill), many may be wondering: Is it safe to use cannabis for pain relief after an abortion? Spoiler alert: For people in conservative states, finding access to safe abortion is a lot more difficult than finding good, analgesic, high-THC weed, which, yes, could safely help manage pain after taking the pill (mifepristone and misoprostol) or undergoing an abortive procedure. 

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which passed by a vote of 6–3 on June 24, 2022, overturned both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), thus returning to the power to regulate abortion laws to states, and removing the national safety net of the right to privacy. Pro-choice Americans recoiled in shock (and pro-choice stoners reached for some cannabis to calm their panic attacks) when conservative Justice Alito’s opinion, which correctly foreshadowed their decision, leaked in May of the same year. However, we were wrong to be surprised. As this author can attest, after digging into decades of research on the matter, the anti-choice crowd has been planning this since Roe first passed in 1973, and, to be frank, many people got lazy and comfortable, especially during the Obama years. After Trump, who doesn’t care about abortion unless it’s to win religious voters, finally successfully stacked the Supreme Court in the anti-choice crowd’s favor, and the crafty legislation made its way in front of them, it was a cacophonous wakeup call.  

As of June 2023, according to The New York Times, 14 states, such as South Dakota and Texas, now ban most abortions, except in rare cases that endanger the mother’s life. Georgia also bans abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy (before most people even realize they are pregnant). As other states battle it out in courtrooms, the number of states that virtually ban all abortions will likely increase, and the 2024 election will be one for the history books. Notice how lack of abortion access is predominant in regions where a significant proportion of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color live, who are already let down by our medical system and disproportionately more likely to need abortion care.

However, according to American Progress, as of July 2022, 21 states, such as California, New York, and Washington, D.C., have protections in place for abortion. As a result, people must travel out of state or get and take the abortion pill by mail. As Planned Parenthood instructs, typically, medical abortion works by taking two drugs. The first, mifepristone, blocks the hormone progesterone, which stops the pregnancy from further developing. Then, the second pill, misoprostol, is taken up to 48 hours later and causes cramping and bleeding that empties the uterus. This process lasts between five to 24 hours. Currently, over half of U.S. abortions are performed using pills, and yes, this process, while akin to menstrual cramps for some, can be frightening, messy, and downright excruciating for others. Yet currently, the standard pain relief direction for medical abortion patients is over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anyone who has tried these just for period cramps or a headache knows their limitations. 

Rather than seek out opiates, cannabis can offer safe and managed pain and anxiety relief for those taking the pills. Most research supporting using cannabis for pain is limited to medical abortions. “As for surgical abortions, there is very little research into the use of cannabis and post-surgical abortion pain,” Dr. Lewis Jassey, medical director at Leafwell, tells High Times. “Regarding post-surgical pain, generally, cannabis users may face more severe pain and nausea and may need additional medications such as opioids.” 

While post-medical abortion cannabis use for pain relief needs more research, some studies show positive results. A 2020 study, which enrolled 51 participants (16 cannabis users and 35 non-cannabis users) at a University-affiliated abortion clinic in Denver, found that 13 of the 16 (81%) patients correlated cannabis use with a reduction in pain, seven (44%) with anxiety reduction, and six (38%) with nausea and vomiting (oh yeah, that’s another side effect) improvement. They found no significant difference when comparing cannabis users to non-users.

Another 2016 study that enrolled 384 women in states with legal cannabis found that “a sizable proportion of women in states with progressive marijuana policies use marijuana during a first-trimester medical abortion and find it helpful in managing pain.” 

While these results are promising, keep in mind: “These studies focus on pain during an abortion, so the benefits of medical cannabis as a pain reliever post-abortion are less clear,” Dr. Jassey says. “The studies suggest that medical cannabis could be helpful for pain, anxiety, and nausea relief post-use of misoprostol or mifepristone. However, the results of these studies are inconclusive, and further research is needed.”

When speaking to people who have had a medical abortion, in this reporter’s experience, most say that the discomfort was far worse than expected. If you’re confused as to why one is supposed to get through it with Motrin or Advil alone, keep in mind that for a long time, women were expected to be in pain during birth, thanks to the Bible passage Genesis 3:16, in which Eve is punished for eating from the Tree of Knowledge, which reads: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Getting an abortion is now hard enough; expecting sympathy regarding pain relief for a highly stigmatized medical procedure is even more challenging. 

Yet, while more activism is always needed (and don’t forget to vote), if you, or someone you love, is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, or can’t be, don’t panic. Click here to read more information from Planned Parenthood about how to safely get the abortion pill delivered to you, and go ahead and call your guy or head to your local dispensary, knowing that, once again, Mary Jane has your back even when the lawmakers don’t. 

The post The Guide to Cannabis for Post-Abortion Pain Relief appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study

Cannabis is sending twice as many pregnant “people” to the hospital, says a new study on cannabis use during pregnancy published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. (And yes, the study calls pregnant women “people” in an attempt to be “inclusive” by insulting women and rejecting biological facts.) The researchers looked at over 950,000 pregnancies between January 2015 and July 2021. They found the rate of ER and hospital visits related to cannabis use during pregnancy doubled. Ergo, legalization has […]

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Black, Hispanic Patients More Likely To Be Tested for Perinatal Cannabis Use

According to data published in the journal Hospital Pediatrics, patients selected to undergo drug screening during the labor and delivery process for cannabis are disproportionately Hispanic or African American and were also more likely to be on subsidized health insurance plans.

The team of researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics looked to describe the characteristics of people undergoing toxicology testing at delivery solely for the indication of cannabis use along with evaluating the rate of unexpected positive testing results among the cohort to identify additional social risk factors and clinical outcomes.

The Disproportionate Impact of Perinatal Drug Testing

The retrospective cohort study included dyads with a maternal history of cannabis use who were given peripartum toxicology testing between 2016 and 2020 at five Massachusetts birthing hospitals.

Researchers reviewed a total of 60,608 live births, of which 1,924 dyads underwent toxicology testing. Of that group, 614 (31.9%) were tested for the sole indication of cannabis use. The data revealed that significantly greater patients in the cannabis cohort were less than 25 years old, non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic or Latino and publicly insured.

Specifically, Hispanic patients were twice as likely to be mandated to undergo testing (30.5% vs. 15.5% of the birthing population) and Black patients were four times as likely (32.4% vs. 8.1%). Patients under 25 were more than five times as likely to be mandated for testing (32.4% vs. 6.1%), and those on public healthcare plans were more than twice as likely to be tested for past cannabis exposure (39.9% vs. 15.6%).

Regarding positive results, eight of the 614 dyads (1.3%) had an unexpected positive toxicology test result, including two (0.3%) who unexpectedly tested positive for opioids. Seven dyads (1.1%) also had false positive test results for unexpected substances.

Doctors also rarely took any follow up actions or made changes to the clinical management of patients after they tested positive for cannabis, as just a single test result changed clinical management: monitoring and no medication for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. 

“Toxicology testing of patients for a sole indication of cannabis use, without other risk factors, may be of limited utility in elucidating other substance use and may exacerbate existing disparities in perinatal outcomes,” the study’s authors concluded.

Echoes of Previous Research

The findings are consistent with previous studies. Namely, one study released just last month published in Academic Pediatrics similarly found that younger individuals and people of color were more likely to be tested for cannabis use or maternal medical complications compared to white, non-Hispanic individuals. This study found the disproportionality ratios were greater than 1.0 for individuals under 25 years old (3.8), Hispanic individuals (1.6), non-Hispanic Black individuals (1.8) individuals of other races (1.8) and those with public insurance (Medicaid 2.6; Medicare 10.6). 

While this is one of the most recent studies investigating the topic, a number of studies from years past have found similar figures. One study published in the Journal of Women’s Health reported that Black women and their newborns were 1.5 times more likely to be tested for illicit drugs than non-Black women. 

Another published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that, even though Black and White women had similar rates of illicit drug consumption during pregnancy, Black women were “reported [to health authorities] at approximately 10 times the rate of white women.”

Drug Use, Drug Testing and Childbirth: A Complex Issue

False positive test results of THC are generally uncommon in adults, they can be fairly prevalent among newborns. For example, a 2012 study found that commonly used soap and wash products used for newborn and infant care, like Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash and CVS Baby Wash, often cross-react with the immunoassay test and can cause false positive results for carboxy THC. 

“[The] addition of Head-to-Toe Baby Wash to drug-free urine produced a dose dependent measurable response in the THC immunoassay,” the investigators concluded. “Addition of other commercially available baby soaps gave similar results, and subsequent testing identified specific chemical surfactants that reacted with the THC immunoassay. … Given these consequences, it is important for laboratories and providers to be aware of this potential source for false positive screening results and to consider confirmation before initiating interventions.”

Even though the Hospital Pediatrics study had few follow up actions after positive testing, that’s not always the case. Another study from 2018 notes the importance of considering a number of technical, medical, ethical, legal and social issues when screening pregnant people for drug use. 

Specifically, it cites that birthing people “can and have been arrested for positive drug screens with even preliminary results used to remove children from custody, before rigorous confirmatory testing is completed. Balancing the scientific, medical, public health, legal, and ethical aspects of screening tests for drugs in pregnancy is critical for helping to address this crisis at all levels.”

The study concludes that the medical field largely lacks a good understanding of the pharmacokinetics of drugs in pregnancy. While there is a clear need for testing, authors note that there is a lack of pharmacological knowledge, compounded by a “general misunderstanding of addiction and substance use/misuse within the medical profession” that is further complicated when working with pregnant people and their children. 

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Heated Debate Erupts on Reddit Over Weed Etiquette at Concerts

A Reddit post in the popular subreddit r/Am I the Asshole? community is beginning to go viral after it ignited a fierce debate: Should concertgoers at a clearly stoner-friendly concert refrain from smoking if a pregnant woman is in the crowd, or should the pregnant woman not be there in the first place if secondhand smoke is inevitable? The responses and opinions about acceptable behavior may surprise you.

“Yesterday I went out to see a concert,” Redditor u/Vegetable_River_255 posted on Sunday. “The band I was seeing has a very heavy drug scene associated with it. I was in an assigned seat section and made small talk with the couple next to me while waiting.”

The user continued, “About 10 minutes into the first set I light up a joint, and about five minutes after the husband complains to me about his wife being pregnant. I told them both it’s a show. You came here, you can choose to leave. He tried to cause a scene but nothing happened since I just ignored them both and danced.”

Apparently, the user’s roommates took the side of the pregnant woman. “I told my roommates this earlier today and they said I was being an asshole for smoking next to the pregnant lady.”

“AITA [Am I the asshole] here?” the Redditor asked.

She Knows reported about the Redditor’s “brazen admission” to smoking near a pregnant woman “with no regard for her health or consent.” After all, the Surgeon General advises against cannabis use among mothers. Plus, they have to worry about toxicology screenings.

Most mothers in the thread agreed, and appeared stunned to even be presented with such a loaded question. However, even some pregnant women in the subreddit took the side of the Redditor who wrote the original post, saying the mother should’ve known better than to go to that type of concert.

Chaos Ensues on Reddit

The user’s responses were quite different, highlighting how differently people view our responsibilities as smokers.

“YES YTA [you’re the asshole],” WaywardPrincess1025 replied, gaining over 35,000 upvotes at the time of writing. “You shouldn’t be smoking in your seat like that. … Double YTA for doing it next to a pregnant woman. However, if I were her, I would have left or called security to move you. Her and her baby’s health is more important than the concert.”

Others suggested simply walking away from the woman first before lighting up, so there’s no issue.

“I smoke weed and cigarettes and I honestly don’t care what the rules are, it’s about consent,” replied Temporary-Tie-233. “Secondhand smoke is harmful and noxious. The decent thing to do is walk away from everyone when you smoke anything. People who choose to expose themselves can follow.”

However, others took the side of the original poster. 

“I’m going to be down voted but whatever,” semmama, who is pregnant, replied. “As a pregnant woman I know better than to go to a concert and expect people not to be blazing up on stuff. There hasn’t been a concert I’ve been to where that wasn’t a thing, even shitty music. She made the choice to go there. She could have moved somewhere else if she didn’t like it but where do you go at a concert that doesn’t have pot or worse? You were asked, you refused, that’s the end of it.” In other words, is it OK for a pregnant woman to attend a concert strongly associated with pot (think Phish)?

Others appeared to agree with semmama.

“NTA [Not the Asshole] I’m assuming it’s like a Phish/Grateful Dead sort of band. It’s basically a guarantee people will be smoking all around the venue so if the woman was concerned about smoke, she should not be going to that sort of show,” portalsoflight replied.

Others took a neutral stance and suggested consuming edibles or vaping in the parking lot beforehand. This, they say, is fairly easy and allows you to be stoned at the show without bothering anyone. That way—everyone’s happy.

“Take an edible, smoke before you come in, bring a vape and hit it outside if you must. So many options these days besides forcing someone else and their unborn fetus to inhale it too.” 

The debate rages on.

The post Heated Debate Erupts on Reddit Over Weed Etiquette at Concerts appeared first on High Times.

Pregnant Women in Alabama Are Being Jailed For Smoking Pot

A string of recent media reports has brought attention to a troubling development out of Alabama: for months, pregnant women in the state have been jailed for smoking cannabis.

Most of the coverage has centered around Ashley Banks, a 23-year-old Alabama woman who was arrested in late May “with a small amount of marijuana and a pistol without a permit to carry,” according to

“Under normal circumstances, the 23-year-old from Gadsden would have been able to post bond and leave jail until her criminal trial,” the outlet reported. “But Banks admitted to smoking pot on the same day she found out she was pregnant – two days before her arrest. In Etowah County, that meant she couldn’t leave jail unless she entered drug rehab, leaving her in limbo for three months.”

According to The Washington Post, that is a result of a law in Etowah, where nearly all “pregnant or postpartum women who are charged with endangering their fetus via drugs have to remain in jail until they complete a drug-treatment program, without an assessment of whether that condition is appropriate for them.”

So, Banks languished in the county detention center for three months “while she endured severe vaginal bleeding and two emergency room visits that left her fearful for her high-risk pregnancy,” The Washington Post reported, adding that a “court-contracted substance abuse agency twice told her that she didn’t qualify for treatment because she wasn’t addicted to drugs, leaving her in limbo until a judge granted her release Aug. 25 on conditions that did not include drug treatment.”

Banks is apparently not the only one to be subject to such treatment.

The Guardian reports on another woman, Hali Burns, who “was taken to the Etowah county jail just six days after giving birth to her son, with police saying that she had tested positive for a drug used by pregnant women with opioid addictions to help manage cravings and withdrawal.”

“When she was thrown in jail, Burns was still physically recovering from giving birth. But the jail had no facilities for her to pump or tend to her wounds. Her partner tried to bring pads and underwear to her, so that she wouldn’t have to bleed into her clothes, but Etowah county authorities wouldn’t let her have them. The risk for infection was great – the indignity was even greater,” The Guardian reported.

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a legal nonprofit organization, describes Etowah County “ground zero of pregnancy criminalization,” according to The Washington Post, with more than 150 such cases in the past decade.

“The prosecution’s alleged justification for this is that this is needed to protect the women’s ‘unborn’ and born children,” said Emma Roth, a staff attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, as quoted by The Washington Post. “When the reality is: This puts the health and well-being of these women at risk, and their pregnancies and their children at risk.”

According to The Guardian, the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer to overturn Roe v. Wade “didn’t create this state of affairs, but it’s likely to worsen it.”

“The policy in place in Etowah county and elsewhere reveals the warped logic and hateful absurdities of the anti-choice worldview,” the outlet said. “The movement claims to see embryos and fetuses as persons, and in practice they speak as if these “persons” are not women’s equals, but their superiors: the fetus is conceived of as more important than the woman, more worthy, less tainted by those things that make a pregnant woman so unappealing – her femaleness, her sexuality, her tendency to have human desires and human struggles, like irritation or addiction or anger. In the service of protecting and advancing this superior being of the fetus, the anti-choice movement claims, it is justifiable, even necessary, to steal the freedom of those lesser women.”

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Judge Rules in Favor of Mother for Cannabis Use While Pregnant

An Arizona mother recently won a Court of Appeals case that determined she was not guilty of child neglect because she consumed medical cannabis to treat extreme morning sickness, and her child tested positive for cannabis shortly after being born.

The Arizona Court of Appeals judges ruled that it is not neglect if a mother gives birth to a child that has cannabis in its system, as long as she has permission from a doctor to use it as a medical treatment under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

The case, Lindsay Ridgell v. Arizona Department of Child Safety, involved mother and medical cannabis card holder Lindsay Ridgell, whose child was born in May 2019. Due to the presence of cannabis in her child’s system, the hospital notified the Department of Child Safety and she was placed on the Central Registry. Her child wasn’t taken from her, but her name would remain on the Central Registry for 25 years, which could possibly interfere with getting a job. According to Yahoo! News, there are over 81,000 names on the Central Registry, as of 2018 (the most recent data currently available).

Three judges, Judge Randall M. Howe, Brian Y. Furuya and Michael J. Brown, ruled on March 31. “The Director [of the Department of Child Serves] erred in placing Ridgell on the Central Registry. A person may be placed on the Central Registry if her newborn infant has been exposed to certain drugs, including marijuana, but only if that exposure did not result from medical treatment administered by a health professional,” Judge Howe wrote in his opinion

“The evidence shows that Ridgell was certified under AMMA to use marijuana medically to treat chronic nausea. The doctor who certified Ridgell’s eligibility for using medical marijuana knew that she was pregnant. Because the use of marijuana under AMMA ‘must be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician,’ A.R.S. § 36-2813(C), the exposure of Ridgell’s infant to marijuana resulted from medical treatment and did not constitute neglect under A.R.S. § 8-201(25)(c).”

Ridgell’s legal representation, Julie Gunnigle, worked pro bono on her case. “It basically says Lindsay was right all along,” Gunnigle said.

After numerous years have passed, Ridgell told the Phoenix New Times that she was relieved that the judges ruled in support of her case. “I feel so happy. A weight has lifted from my shoulders and I feel free,” Ridgell said. “This means a lot to myself and my family. I can finally go back into social work and hopefully earn a higher wage than I have been the past couple years, as well as find more fulfillment in work. I miss helping people, especially kids.”

Ridgell received a medical cannabis card 10 years ago to help treat irritable bowel syndrome. In 2018, when she confirmed she was pregnant, she was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, otherwise known as extreme morning sickness. The condition led her to return to the emergency room numerous times in order to seek treatment.

The court’s “facts and procedural history” notes that her child stopped breathing and needed to be resuscitated after birth. After nurses witnessed the baby’s “jitteriness,” he was transferred to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for further evaluation. “The hospital performed a drug test, which was positive for marijuana, Buspar, caffeine, and Benadryl, and [they] diagnosed him with intrauterine addictive drug exposure,” the case record states.

Ridgell’s case garnered support from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the Academy of Perinatal Harm Reduction, and comedian Amy Schumer among many other doctors and advocates. Schumer in particular also suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, the symptoms of which are seen in an HBO Max series called Expecting Amy.

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