Last week, advocates in Denver convened at the state Capitol to discuss Senate Bill 278, a piece of legislation that would establish a new, statewide definition of a “drug-endangered child.”
Under SB 278, stiffer penalties would have been given to parents who have children living in residences where controlled substances are manufactured, distributed, possessed or used. While the bill language notes that criminal penalties are almost certain to arise from the legislation, the stated primary intent of SB 278 is to help agencies better serve the needs of youth.
“The welfare and safety of children is paramount and requires that human services and law enforcement agencies work from a common definition of ‘drug-endangered child,’” the bill reads. “So they can best meet the needs of children whose health, welfare and safety may be at risk.”
If the bill were to become a law, parents in Colorado — where adult use and limited possession of marijuana is legal — could be arrested for using or growing marijuana in a home with children.
“This bill is not without its complications,” state Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton) was quoted by The Denver Post. “It is really difficult to find that delicate balance between making sure the kids are protected, but at the same time not overstepping and having unintentional consequences for a family who is providing a very safe home.”
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