Baby Snatched from Mom for Single Medical Marijuana Offense

Because foster care is so much better for the baby than a mother who tried to relieve her pain with medical marijuana tea.

A first offense for using marijuana is typically very light. What are we to make of a woman punished by losing her baby? Even the child protection bureaucrats thought the judge was too severe. Cleveland.com reports, “Mom’s use of marijuana tea leads to magistrate ordering removal of newborn, contrary to advice of county workers.”

 Hollie Sanford’s decision to use a marijuana-based tea to lessen her labor pains had a devastating result she didn’t expect.

A Juvenile Court magistrate ordered the healthy baby girl whisked away from Sanford more than two weeks ago, contrary to the advice of county workers who said it would be harmful to take the newborn from her parents

A court hearing where the baby was ordered to be taken was scheduled with less than 24 hours notice, Sanford said.

It blindsided her and her husband who had cooperated fully with a county worker who visited their Cleveland home after she and the baby tested positive for a bi-product of marijuana after the birth at Fairview Hospital on Sept. 26.

Sanford understands that her choice to use the tea instead of prescribed pain medication for pregnancy-related pain and nausea could be considered controversial and that she would be judged harshly by some.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinions,” she said Sunday as she nursed the chubby-cheeked 6-week-old baby named Nova, who was placed to live with a relative.

“If people want to say I’m a terrible parent, that’s their right. I did my research and I felt like what I was doing was safe. I know in my heart that I’m an excellent mother. What happened should not have caused my baby to be taken from me.”

Attorneys for Sanford and Cuyahoga County Children & Family Services have asked that a judge overturn Magistrate Eleanore Hilow’s decision so Nova can be returned to live with her parents and brother Logan, who’s almost 2.

The county had asked only for “protective supervision” so they could watch over the family to make sure Sanford followed through with a promise not to use marijuana, according to court records.

“There is no need to remove this child from her parents in order to protect her,” an assistant county prosecuting attorney wrote in a motion filed on Oct. 23. “At this time, removal would only serve to disrupt the bond the child would develop with her parents during this important period in her life … Rather than protecting the child, removal may be more harmful to her both in the present and in the future.”

The magistrate’s reported reply that “It is still illegal” doesn’t make any sense. Taking a child away from her mother is not a just penalty for a minor drug offense. If the baby was in any danger (questionable), now she no longer is in the womb. And there are serious health risks for a baby to be taken away from her birth mother and put in foster care. Why should the baby be punished?

[See also, “Under Obamacare, Hospitals and Courts Overrule Parental Authority.”]

It isn’t obvious to me how children are better off with judges empowered to take them away. There should be a jury trial for something so drastic.