Two teenage parents from western New York state were arraigned Friday on charges they forced their toddler to smoke pot. Jessica Kelsey, 17, and George Kelsey, 18, are charged along with Jessica’s father, 54-year-od Don Baker, with second-degree reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said.
The incident occurred on the evening of Dec. 5 at the family's Buffalo area apartment, when it's alleged the three adults either "helped, observed or encouraged the 23-month-old to smoke marijuana from a lighted bowl", according to The Buffalo News on Dec. 13.
Undersheriff Charles Holder said, "They packed the marijuana pipe, lit it for the baby and gave it to him and encouraged him to inhale...it's just unbelievable", according to WIVB News 4.
The news affiliate says it's possible the incident may have been videotaped, but the sheriff's office wouldn't confirm or deny that.
The three charged just happen to live in an apartment directly across from the Chautauqua County Courthouse, and right next door to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.
Jodie Altman is the Executive Director of Renaissance House, which heads the Kids Escaping Drugs program that goes into area schools to educate students about the dangers of using drugs.
She said about the case, "Unfortunately, when babies are having babies, that's what happens", adding, "You know, you need a license for everything. But you don't need a license to be a parent".
The comments sections of multiple websites reporting on the case have been flooded with people citing this as a watershed case in the trending legalization of marijuana.
Those opposed point to this case as a warning sign of things to come, while proponents of legalizing pot say that's ridiculous, and argue this case is simply about bad parenting.
The case is under investigation by the Chautauqua County sheriff’s office, the child protection department and the area district attorney's office.
All three adults were arrested on warrants Friday and arraigned in Town of Chautauqua Court. They are being held in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
Authorities report the toddler and another sibling, whose age is unknown, are currently under the care of Child Protective Services.