Marijuana Edibles: Holding People Accountable When They Get in The Wrong Hands

Oregon's marijuana industry is exploding at an astounding rate.  The OLCC is now loosening rules relating to marijuana edibles.  These edibles often contain concentrated THC and can vary in potency.   Many of the edibles are harmless.  However, some of the more potent edibles can become harmful if they fall into the wrong hands. 

Edibles are often packaged in packaging that mirrors candy, cookies, and other sweets.  The packaging makes the treats enticing to adults, but also makes them very tempting for kids.   As the father of a two year old, I am constantly amazed at the time and effort a toddler will dedicate to discovering and consuming a cookie.

What happens when a child consumes marijuana edibles?  According to the Children's Hospital in Colorado, a child may become extremely drowsy, have difficulty breathing, and in some cases may enter a coma and need the assistance of a ventilator. The hospital notes that most children will require hospitalization if they ingested a marijuana edible. 

Who is responsible for paying the medical bills if a child is hospitalized due to consuming a marijuana edible?  The answer is not clear. Insurance may pay the medical bills, but then assert a lien over any amount that they paid, and often insurance doesn't pay the full amount.  Many people may assert it is the parents fault for not watching their children, or keeping the edibles in a place accessible to children.  However, Oregon Law has parental immunity that may protect the parents in this situation.  Other times the children may obtain the marijuana edibles at a friend's house or some other place.  If that is the case, then the person who possessed the edibles may be responsible.  In some cases the manufacturer may be responsible.  

Can the child obtain compensation for the harms and losses they suffer from eating marijuana edibles?  Maybe.  One of the issues would be how severely harmed was the child.  It is unlikely that a child who eats edibles that makes him drowsy would recover very much.  However, a child that suffers respiratory issues that reduced oxygen levels to dangerous levels may be awarded a substantial amount of money.

If you or someone you know have a child who consumed marijuana edibles and was hospitalized, please call Portland, Oregon Attorney Jeremiah Ross.  Ross Law LLC provides a free consultation for personal injury clients and is happy to discuss your child's case with you.   Please remember this is an attorney blog, that could be considered attorney advertisements.  Also, please note each case is unique and the law is constantly changing.  Do not rely solely on this blog, as it is not legal advice. For more information call 503.224.1658.