SOUTH BEND — Marijuana may be legal for adults now, but giving the drug to a child will still land you in prison, as one Ocean Park woman learned on May 12.
In a Pacific County Superior Court hearing, Christina Lee Yanez, 36, was sentenced to 13 months in state prison for criminal mistreatment and delivery of marijuana.
Yanez was arrested on April 29, after an ambulance crew responded to a report of an intoxicated nine-year-old at the Dunes Bible Camp swimming pool. The child was taken to the emergency room. Deputies learned that Yanez intentionally gave the child a brownie laced with “dabs,” a highly concentrated form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
According to Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain, the child asked for one of the brownies Yanez’s boyfriend had made. The boyfriend objected, saying they were drugged and the child should not eat them.
“Ms. Yanez decided to give them to her child anyway,” McClain said. “It is inexcusable to give a nine year old marijuana, regardless of how relaxed we have become about its use.”
After eating the brownie, the child went to the pool. Allowing the child to swim while intoxicated added to the already significant risk, McClain said.
According to court records, Yanez used “dabs” and other forms of marijuana on a daily basis. She will be required to undergo drug treatment while she is in prison. Child Protective Services will decide whether Yanez is allowed future contact with her child.
Parents who use marijuana need to be especially vigilant about pot products that appeal to children, including candies, cookies and brownies, McClain said.
According to a 2016 report from the Washington Poison Control Center, toxic exposures to marijuana rose in 2014 and 2015, following the start of legal marijuana sales in mid-2014. In 2015, the center documented 272 marijuana-related poisonings, most of which occurred in the victims’ homes. About a third of the cases involved edible pot products. Forty-six percent involved people under the age of 18. The number of THC poisoning-related calls increased for almost all age groups in 2015, but the jump was highest among children ages one to four years old.