If you've read the last couple of post you already know pretty much everything that's in this letter, but I thought I'd post it anyway. It's the letter I just emailed our congressman:
Dear Congressman Herger,
I wanted to begin this letter by thanking you for coming to speak at the Trinity County Republican Women’s luncheon on Monday! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet you and hear you speak about the important issues in our country today.
Unfortunately my reason for writing is someone less happy. I’m not sure there’s anything that you can do, or that can be done at all after talking to the sheriff’s deputy last night, but if what the deputy said is true there seems to be a real problem with the law on this particular topic and I was hoping you could help (or at least keep it in mind when proposing future legislation).
Last night I was downstairs when I heard Sadie, my two year gasping to breath upstairs in her bedroom. I ran to see what was the matter and found her in the middle of what looked to be a full-blown asthma attack (my daughter did not have asthma that we knew of). The cause was immediately clear. The room reeked of marijuana. We believe that in our cheaply made apartment it had come through the walls from the apartment directly behind my daughter’s room, because it only filled the rooms on that side of the apartment. I scooped her up and brought her into our room. Her breathing eased almost immediately.
My husband Paul called 911. We were told that the situation wasn’t an emergency (because we didn’t think we needed an ambulance since we live a few blocks from the hospital and her breathing was more normal) and a deputy would call us in a couple of hours. I was stunned that a situation in which a child was endangered and put in a state where she was unable to breath was classified as a “non-emergency.”
Things got worse when the deputy finally returned our call. He said that because our neighbor didn’t mean to harm our daughter, there was nothing he could do. He said the law only covered “malicious intent” and that since the man didn’t mean to harm my two year old nothing could be done.
This really seems completely illogical to me. I pointed out that parents using meth in front of their children might just be “trying to get high” and weren’t really trying to “harm their children” but that he would still act in that situation. He said that the only way he would be able to act in this situation was if the neighbor was actually trying to “blow smoke into her room.”
It brought to mind the news report earlier in the year that horrified the entire country when that little two-year-old girl was forced to smoke marijuana by her mother. Here I have a two year old in obvious duress, being forced to breath in marijuana because her room is filled with it, and the sheriff’s deputy is telling me that what he’s doing isn’t against the law (I didn’t even mention the fact that it is Federally illegal, because I knew it wouldn’t get us anywhere).
Paul took Sadie to the ER where they taped a bag to her to collect urine to test, and took a chest x-ray because her chest sounded “raspy.” We were sent home after the x-ray came back clear with a still sick little girl, to an apartment that still reeked of marijuana.
She slept in our room with an air filter blowing on her, and is considerably better this morning, as long as she doesn’t go into her own room. At this point I’m just grateful that we hadn’t yet moved our three month olds crib into her sisters room, which we’d planned on doing earlier this month. With her sister’s serious reaction I do not even want to imagine the possibilities if she was exposed.
Our neighbors usually smoke pot right outside, which is annoying, but at least we are able to close our windows. But now that it’s coming through the walls we have very few options. With a husband who works while commuting to graduate school at the University of San Francisco every weekend, we live in the apartment we can afford.
We also contacted Lorrac Craig, our county’s sheriff, and he’s looking into the situation.
It just seems so insane, on so many different levels, but I would hope that even the pro-marijuana legalization camp would recognize that our children must be protected. Their own personal “right” to do drugs cannot extend so far that it encroaches on the right of a child to breath in her own bedroom.
I’ve heard over and over again that marijuana use is a victimless crime. As I watched my daughter gasping for breath last night in her room, her head back and her little eyes half open, I knew without a doubt that that “truth” is a blatant lie.
Even if there’s nothing you can do, thank you for listening to my story.