EXCLUSIVE: From 18 year-old who shot his girlfriend's baby while high on ... trends now

EXCLUSIVE: From 18 year-old who shot his girlfriend's baby while high on ... trends now
EXCLUSIVE: From 18 year-old who shot his girlfriend's baby while high on ... trends now

EXCLUSIVE: From 18 year-old who shot his girlfriend's baby while high on ... trends now

At least 290 American children have suffered brutal, preventable deaths linked to marijuana over the last decade, according to an analysis seen exclusively by DailyMail.com.

The highest proportion of deaths – 95 – involved extreme violence, the dossier of reports show.

This includes the case of a Texan man who murdered his girlfriend and nine-month baby with a pocket-knife while suffering what was believed to be a cannabis-induced psychotic episode.

Another perturbed example is the case of two year-old Jacob Pelletier from New Hampshire, who was beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend in December 2017.

Two year-old Jacob Pelletier was killed in 2017 by his mother's boyfriend, who, shortly before the attack, had ran out of the marijuana he relied upon to 'manage his emotions'

Two year-old Jacob Pelletier was killed in 2017 by his mother's boyfriend, who, shortly before the attack, had ran out of the marijuana he relied upon to 'manage his emotions'

Court records reference the defendant’s ‘regular use of marijuana to manage his emotions’ and ‘self-medicate’. 

Significantly, the killer admitted he had run out of his supply of the drug on the day of the offense, which was offered as an explanation of his extreme behavior in court. 

Studies show that regular use of marijuana is linked to a five-fold increased risk of psychotic illness

Also significant is the 2020 death of eight-month-old Josiah Guyton, who sustained fatal injuries after being ‘forcibly hit against a table and dresser’ by his mother’s boyfriend, Jermaine Abron.

According to the petition filed in 2020 at the Family Division of Kent County Circuit Court, Abron and Josiah’s mother Jada were often high on marijuana when taking care of him.

Eight-month-old Josiah Guyton was unable to breathe yet his mother left him to go and smoke marijuana with her boyfriend

Eight-month-old Josiah Guyton was unable to breathe yet his mother left him to go and smoke marijuana with her boyfriend

Following the attack, Guyton is said to have left her baby face down and gasping in order to go into another room and smoke marijuana with Abron.

The dossier has sparked a wave of uproar among campaigners, who say it proves that 'children are paying the price' for 'the disaster' that is cannabis legalization

The psychoactive drug is currently legal for recreational use in 24 states, and medicinal use in 38 states.

'It's the kids that ultimately suffer,' says Heidi Swan, campaigner and co-author of A Night in Jail: a story of teen drug use and mental illness.

'It is shocking how socially acceptable marijuana has become: there is no shame around using the drug - even around children.

'If you are a caregiver you should not be losing touch with time or reality, or become too "chill".'

Other cases are classed as neglect – with parents or guardians too intoxicated to manage parental responsibilities.

This includes several alarming stories of suffocation, such as the Illinois mother who covered the nose and mouth of her four year-old daughter Emily Rose while shouting, 'I'm sending Emily to see Jesus'. 

The 36 year-old, who suffered mental health problems, smoked marijuana in the hour before the attack. 

In 2018, 20 year-old Eve Hallman, from Pennsylvania, was charged with involuntary manslaughter after she rolled over her two-month-old baby on the couch while sleeping after smoking marijuana. 

Emily Rose Perrin, who suffered cystic fibrosis, was suffocated and killed by her mother who is believed to have been experiencing psychiatric illness related to cannabis use

Emily Rose Perrin, who suffered cystic fibrosis, was suffocated and killed by her mother who is believed to have been experiencing psychiatric illness related to cannabis use

Three years prior, Sean St Amand from Maine was sentenced to three years in jail for manslaughter after his 11-month-old son drowned in a bathtub.

 St Amand had failed to check up on him because he’d been smoking marijuana in the adjacent room with a friend, according to local reports.

Police said they smelled marijuana when they entered the apartment and that drug paraphernalia was in plain sight.

Other, similar cases of neglect include the woman responsible for the fatal drowning of not one, but two, young children due to her weed high, and 18 year-old Henry Bartle, who accidentally shot his girlfriend’s baby in the head while stoned.

Similarly, earlier this year, two-year-old Kiaire McCoy got hold of his mom's boyfriend's handgun and accidentally shot himself while the boyfriend was 'high on marijuana and scrolling on his phone'.

These are just a small number of examples of horrific crimes that have taken place all over the US in which marijuana was somehow involved. 

Although not all of the evidence offers conclusive proof that marijuana contributed to the death, the drug is mentioned as a factor in local news reports, court and police documents. 

And speaking to DailyMail.com, experts say the lack of accurate testing and monitoring of the drug's role in such events means the true number of marijuana-related deaths are likely under-estimated.

Kiaire McCoy got hold of his mother's ex-boyfriend's loaded gun and shot himself earlier this year. The gun owner was supposed to be watching Kiaire but 'zoned out' while high on marijuana

Kiaire McCoy got hold of his mother's ex-boyfriend's loaded gun and shot himself earlier this year. The gun owner was supposed to be watching Kiaire but 'zoned out' while high on marijuana

'There will likely be many more cases of child harm due to marijuana than the ones that we know about,' says Dr Timothy Fong, faculty leadership of the Cannabis Research Initiative at University of California, Los Angeles and clinical psychiatrist. 

'Often when something awful happens, blood tests for marijuana aren't performed and it isn't always checked for in the emergency room either.

'We've had cases of, say, a dad coming into the ER who's fallen from a roof and no one is quite sure what's happened, and cannabis might be involved.

'Maybe they don't test for it because there's a lot going on and it's all very messy.

'Plus, marijuana is so normalized in so many states, there's not always a suspicion that the drug could be at least in part to blame.' 

Dr Fong says cases like these, in which someone comes to harm, occur 'every day and night'.

'But how many exactly? We just don't know. The country is not yet set up to monitor these types of cases.'

For the new analysis, campaign group Parents Opposed to Pot scoured local reports and court documents for details on child abuse cases involving marijuana since 2012.

18 year-old Henry Bartle smoked marijuana next to his girlfriend's baby, Nathaniel Hitt, when his shotgun slipped from his lap and went off, killing the infant

18 year-old Henry Bartle smoked marijuana next to his girlfriend's baby, Nathaniel Hitt, when his shotgun slipped from his lap and went off, killing the infant

They uncovered at least 290 fatal cases of accidental shootings, drowning, arson, violence and mistaken ingestion involving marijuana.

In a minority of cases, marijuana was not the only drug involved – alcohol and narcotics were also referenced in local news reports and court records.

However, experts say abuse or neglect cases involving marijuana are becoming increasingly common.

One social worker, who works with neglect and abuse cases and is based in Florida - one of 26 states where weed is not legal recreationally - told DailyMail.com: 'I have had some more cases involving marijuana since the drug was made legal for medical use in the state.

'Often the parents are insistent that they need the drug because they see it as medicinal.

'In

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