TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Now that Arizonans have made small amounts of marijuana legal for people aged 21 and older, it’s raising the danger for kids. Arizona Poison Control centers say more marijuana in the homes has put more toddlers in the hospital.
You don’t need to light up to use marijuana. Recreational and medical marijuana users can eat marijuana in edibles that can carry large doses of THC, the main ingredient that gives marijuana its’ high.
The Arizona Poison Centers say cases of very young children exposed to marijuana are up about 90%—usually from kids finding and eating edibles that a child may mistake for candy.
The effects can include panic, dizziness, weakness, and heart problems. The Arizona Poison Center says for children younger than 5, THC can slow down respiration so drastically they may need to go on a respirator.
Safety experts say keep marijuana in any form locked up as you should any drug or chemical.
Police say if you don’t, and a child is hurt, you could face abuse or neglect charges.
Marana Police Sergeant Abel Samano says his department has seen one case of marijuana sending a child to the hospital. He says in cases like that the adults who failed to put their marijuana away, could see themselves put away—behind bars.
“From our point we we would present it to the County Attorney's office for child abuse charges, which are felony charges. And then if they decline, then we would go to the town level. So misdemeanor charges for appropriate charging from there and that can be health, welfare, morals, you know, anything like that; endangerment.”
Felony punishments could range from a few months in prison to over twelve years.
Sergeant Samano says teach kids to recognize foods that may contain marijuana and also teach them to be careful if they visit other homes.
“There's different dynamics in different houses. So there's a good thing to tell your children. Ask before you start just grabbing candy or grabbing things out of people's pantries. One is polite, and then you know, it prevents things like these because you never know what another person keeps in their house.”
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