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Child Advocates Want Bill Protecting Children From Pot Growing

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A marijuana grow room (credit; CBS)

A marijuana grow room (credit; CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Child advocates have been asking Colorado state lawmakers for a bill to protect what they call drug-endangered children now that Amendment 64 is state law.

Amendment 64 allows people 21 and older to possess and consume pot, and also grow it in their homes. Some people worry because children might be in those homes.

Adults can now grow up to six pot plants in their home legally. If there are several adults in a house all growing pot, that’s a significant grow in a home, and experts say there are a lot of health risks.

The child advocates are not saying don’t grow pot, but rather do it responsibly.

One of many photos child advocates showed lawmakers on Monday was of a baby holding a marijuana bong taken from an undercover police investigation. The photos were meant to show how marijuana affected children living in homes where pot grows.

“I know that it’s legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to harm kids,” Stacee Read with the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman said.

Police and child advocates are concerned the legalization of marijuana will create unsafe homes and new challenges never before seen, starting with environmental concerns.

“These mold spores get out into the air and are  breathed in by people,” Dr. John Martyny with National Jewish Health said.

Martyny recently studied the effect of 30 illegal marijuana grow operations inside homes and apartments. The health risks, especially on children, are cause for concern, according to Martyny.

Martyny says humidity produces the best plants and also the best mold spores. High levels of mold can cause respiratory problems even after a few minutes of exposure. A child’s developing system could end up with lifelong problems, including asthma.

“People have to think through what they’re going to do. Don’t grow it in your basement, get it in a green house, get it in a situation where it can be separated from kids, from the rest of the family,” Martyny said.

Cookies, brownies and marijuana infused products are another big concern. Since medical marijuana became legal in Colorado, emergency rooms are reporting higher instances of children getting sick from ingesting pot edibles.

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