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Pot use around kids generally not illegal

What are the laws about marijuana consumption around children now that using recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon?

— No name given

Putting aside moral questions about using drugs around children, from a strictly legal perspective people using marijuana with children present should be cautious to avoid running into legal trouble.

Law enforcement officers, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, the courts and child welfare investigators could get involved under certain conditions, said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

"Generally speaking, when it comes to smoking marijuana in the presence of an underage child, it's not against the law," Budreau said. "But if someone is intentionally or recklessly causing a juvenile to ingest marijuana, that complicates the issue."

Providing pot for an underage person to ingest or carelessly leaving marijuana out for a youth to access could lead to charges of recklessly endangering another and criminal mistreatment, Budreau said.

A child could also be endangered by exposure to hash oil and other potent pot byproducts, he said.

If an adult consumes drugs or alcohol to the point the person's ability to care for a child is inhibited, the person could wind up in trouble.

Oregon Department of Human Services child welfare investigators could get involved if a child is endangered, Budreau said.

Marijuana use and possession is only legal for people 21 and older in Oregon, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, OLCC reminds residents.

Caregivers who get high will not be in a position to safely and legally drive a child suffering a medical emergency to a hospital.

Using marijuana in public is illegal. Public places include schools, playgrounds, parks, streets and apartment and hotel hallways, according to OLCC.

For more information on legal use of marijuana, visit whatslegaloregon.com

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.