Brickbat: Bad Medicine


When Shanelle Dates became pregnant, she asked her doctor if she would be able to continue taking part in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. He told her she could and also that the other drugs she had been using before she joined the program—for severe gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder—would be even more risky for her baby than the marijuana. Her ob/gyn and mental health counselor also recommended she continue to use marijuana. But the day she arrived home from the hospital after giving birth, a local Children and Youth Services caseworker showed up at her door. While the agency hasn't said why they sent a caseworker, Sabrina McCloe Smith, head of a nonprofit that aids medical marijuana users, says it is common for mothers who use medical marijuana to be investigated. In 2018, lawmakers required healthcare providers to report all prenatal exposure to drugs, even if the mother was using the drugs as prescribed by a physician.