Fourth graders are selling pot, in Colorado of course where legalized marijuana sales have been the boon of the state since January 1st of this year. While weed sales may be lawful, that doesn’t mean that fourth graders can set up a playground pot shop. A group of Greeley, Colorado, 10-year-olds did just that, and now face discipline from the school.
According to CNN on April 24, the pot commerce started on April 21 at the Monfort Elementary School when a fourth-grader, after stealing the marijuana from his grandparents, peddled the bags to his classmates for $11. One of the kids couldn’t pay, so the pair struck a deal. The non-paying 10-year-old offered to steal a “marijuana-laced candy bar,” ironically also from his grandparents, and the boys were to swap – the straight dope for a doped up chocolate bar.
Some of the other kids saw the deal go down, and reported it to the school’s teachers. John Gates, Monfort’s school district safety director, said that while the grandparents purchased the marijuana legally, they also share a portion of the blame. It is similar to having any substance in the home that may be illegal or harmful to children – parents and those in a position of guardianship have to be responsible.
The grandparents are culpable “for not securing their weed,” Gates said. “If the marijuana hadn't been accessible, this wouldn't have happened.” Monfort principal Jennifer Sheldon sent a letter home to parents, which read, in part:
We urge all parents, grandparents and anyone who cares for children to treat marijuana as you would prescription drugs, alcohol or even firearms. This drug is potentially lethal to children, and should always be kept under lock and key, away from young people.
Sheldon said the children will face in-school discipline, but would not say specifically what would happen. She stressed that expelling the children, which evidently some had suggested, was never an option. “We aren't trying to harm fourth-grade students who made a bad choice,” she said. “This is an adult problem.”
ABC News says that the one boy started to eat the marijuana candy bar before he was stopped. He reportedly did not suffer any ill effects from consuming it. Gates said that a total of four children were involved; two who brought the marijuana to school and two who allegedly paid $11 for the baggies. The marijuana was returned.
“We hope to send a good message here without ruining anybody’s lives. The message we really want to get out here to the adults is, ‘for crying out loud, secure it,’” Gates said. Police were initially called, but after looking into the matter, determined there was no criminal activity and left the incident in the hands of the school. Gates did say that the children would be suspended.
The side effects of edible marijuana – which can be far more potent than smoking a joint – have been raising new concerns after two recent deaths in Colorado. In one, a 19-year old college student died when he jumped off a hotel balcony after eating a marijuana-laced cookie. In the second, Richard Kirk, 47, was charged with shooting and killing his wife while she called 9-1-1, telling police her husband had consumed pot-infused candy.