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Pot and Parenting

By Emily Kelley, Esq.

We are coming up on three years since Amendment 64 was passed and marijuana become legal in Colorado. Since that time, adults 21 years and older have been legally growing up to 6 plants at home (no more than 3 in flower at a given time).[1] However, parents, did you know that you can still land in serious legal trouble, including criminal child abuse, for your home grow? That’s right, according to the Colorado Revised Statutes,

“A person commits child abuse if, in the presence of a child, or on the premises where a child is found, or where a child resides, or in a vehicle containing a child, the person knowingly engages in the manufacture or attempted manufacture of a controlled substance, as defined by section 18-18-102(5)… It shall be no defense to the crime of child abuse, as described in this subparagraph (I), that the defendant did not know a child was present, a child could be found, a child resided on the premises, or that a vehicle contained a child.”[2]

Even though Colorado has legalized marijuana, it is still a controlled substance and growing pot in the presence of a child is a serious crime with serious consequences. Penalties range greatly based on the injury to the child, if any, and circumstances surrounding each particular case. The law is undeniably murky and the Colorado Legislature launched a failed attempt to clarify this matter. [3] Hopefully, law around this issue will be clarified but in the meantime, partaking in marijuana cultivation and use around children under the age of sixteen can negatively impact custody battles and cause major legal issues both in the criminal and civil realm.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Further, if your child tests positive for a controlled substance at birth, a dependency and neglect investigation will be initiated and you can lose custody of your child. [10][11][12][13][14]

If you are a parent and marijuana user caught in the legal system, it is crucial to know your rights. The experienced marijuana, criminal, domestic and civil attorneys at Feldmann Nagel can help you navigate through the legal process. To contact our expert Criminal Law Group call 1-888-458-0991.


[1]Colo. Const. art. XVIII, § 16(3)(b)

[2]Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-6-401 (c)(I))

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