Children residing in homes where marijuana is cultivated do not suffer from adverse health effects at any greater rate than do comparable children in cannabis-free environments, according to a study in press in the International Journal of Drug Policy.
A pair of investigators with the University of British Columbia, School of Social Work compared the household, family and individual characteristics of 181 children found living in homes with cannabis grow operations in two regions in British Columbia, Canada.
Data was collected on site regarding the physical characteristics of the homes, the health characteristics of the children residing in the homes, and the adolescents' prescription drug history. Investigators also compared the rates of the subjects' prescription drug use with that of a group of children from the same geographic areas.
Researchers reported "no significant difference between the health of the children living in cannabis grow operations and the comparison group of children, based on their prescription history and their reported health at the time."
They concluded: "The findings of this study challenge contemporary child welfare approaches and have implications for both child protection social workers and the policymakers who develop frameworks for practice. ... Although there is little argument that the physical hazards found in cannabis grow-operations pose a risk to children and adults living in the homes, the associated health risks are not as clear. Policymakers involved in establishing frameworks and protocols for responding to these unique child welfare cases must consider the absence of clinical evidence to indicate these children are unwell and whether there are grounds for child welfare intervention."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the study, "The role of child protection in grow-operations," appears in the International Journal of Drug Policy.