Debates about the legalization of marijuana can become heated, but few people would argue that a toddler should be allowed to consume such a drug.
And yet deputies in Brevard County, Florida, say 22-year-old Kiarra Clarisse forced her 2-year-old son to smoke tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active chemical in marijuana, from a vape pen to help his sleeping and eating habits, according to WKMG-TV in Orlando.
The young mother from Merritt Island was arrested Nov. 17 on a child neglect charge. She was released after posting a $5,000 bond, according to WPEC-TV.
According to KidsHealth, THC can lead to a litany of issues in adults, let alone children.
The obvious difference is that most adults are aware of the risks they’re taking when they consume it. Clarisse’s young son clearly was not capable of consenting to use the drug.
According to deputies, an ex-girlfriend said Clarisse only wanted to “party, drink and work in the club” and didn’t properly care for her son, WKMG reported.
While Clarisse claimed she had never smoked marijuana in her home around her son, the ex-girlfriend disputed that story.
According to WPEC, the woman told deputies that she had reached out to the boy’s father to tell him that on “several occasions” she had witnessed Clarisse forcing her son to smoke THC with a vape pen.
The report said the father had already noticed something was amiss when the 2-year-old seemed strangely tired and “slow” during his visit with the boy on Nov. 6.
His worst fears were likely confirmed after he took the boy to the Parish Medical Center in Titusville for a drug test.
The results of the test confirmed the boy had THC in his system, which prompted the child’s father to contact the Brevard Sheriff’s Office, WPEC reported.
It only gets worse, as the deputies said they discovered Clarisse had purposefully caused the boy to fall behind on his immunizations and miss two doctor appointments over the summer.
What reason could she possibly have for doing this?
According to deputies, the ex-girlfriend said Clarisse had confessed to her that she was afraid a doctor would find THC in her son’s system.
In another shocking accusation, the woman also informed the authorities that Clarisse had permitted other people to give her son alcohol.
Again, an adult enjoying the occasional drink after dinner is unlikely to inflict any serious harm.
However, a child whose brain is still developing is a different story.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, underage drinking can lead to “[c]hanges in brain development that may have life-long effects.”
For this reason, the image of a toddler drinking alcohol is hardly any better than the image of a child consuming THC.
In fact, it’s an incredibly sad picture.
No matter where anyone stands in terms of adults being able to consume potentially mind-altering substances, there should be universal agreement when it comes to keeping children as far away as possible from THC and alcohol.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.