Judge Rules in Favour of Mother for Cannabis Use While Pregnant

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An Arizona mother recently won the case of not being guilty of child neglect. The Arizona Court of Appeals judges ruled out the case as not neglect since if the mother gives birth to a child with cannabis in their system, they will only be exempted from the law if their doctor advised them to use cannabis as a medical treatment under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act(AMMA).

Judge Rules in Favour of Mother for Cannabis Use While Pregnant 3

The case, Lindsay Ridgell v. Arizona Dpermarmrnt of Child Safety, incorporated a mother whose child was born in May 2019. Due to the presence of cannabis in the baby’s system, the hospital authorities notified the Department of Child Safety, and she was then placed on the Central Registry. Even though her child wasn’t taken from her, her name will remain on the Central Registry for 25 years, which may hinder her chances of getting employed.

On March 31, three judges, Judge Randall M. Howe, Brian Y. Furuya, and Michael J. Brown, finally ruled out this case. They stated that the name would be listed in the Central Registry only if the drug exposure was not due to medical treatment administered by a healthcare professional.

As per the evidence, Ridgell was certified under AMMA to use marijuana medically to treat her chronic nausea. After many years, when Ridgell finally gained the release from the case, she stated that she could finally get back into social work and hopefully earn a better wage compared to the past couple of years.

She received a medical cannabis card 10 years ago to treat irritable bowel syndrome. However, after 2018 when she got pregnant, she was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as extreme morning sickness. This led her to the emergency room multiple times to seek treatment.

Ridgell’s case took support from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the Academy of Perinatal Harm Reduction, Comedian Amy Schumer, and more doctors and advocates to fight the case.