Parents fight for custody of newborn baby after mother used medical marijuana

CLEVELAND, OH (KTRK) -- Ohio mom, Hollie Sandford, said she thought she was making the best decision for her baby by choosing medicinal marijuana over prescribed drugs to treat extreme pain. Now, she and her husband are in a fight over the custody of their baby.

According to WWCP-TV, Sandford said she was experiencing extreme morning sickness and sciatic nerve pain. Doctors wanted to prescribe opiates, but Sandford worried about addiction and the impact on her fetus.

After some research, Sandford and her husband decided a marijuana-infused tea, containing THC, was safer and a more natural option.

"We did the research and THC, the psychoactive element, doesn't reach the baby after it's metabolized through my body," Sandford told WWCP-TV, "so it's not like the baby is stoned like people might think."

Sanford gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom they named Nova, on September 26, 2015. After birth, meconium stool composed of materials from inside the womb tested positive for a bi-product of marijuana.

Children and Family Services got involved and reportedly told the parents, "you guys can leave but you cannot take your daughter."

The court magistrate determined necessary removal, citing "immediate or threatened physical or emotional harm," despite records documenting a normal delivery and "no evidence the child was exposed to THC or suffered from withdrawal."

Family attorney Joseph Jacobs believes the drug test was wrongfully performed by the hospital. He said screenings are run when public assistance or Medicaid is paying for the hospital services, but the Sandfords are not on public assistance and have private insurance.

Jacobs filed an immediate appeal requesting an emergency custody hearing, now scheduled in December.

Baby Nova was placed with a family member. The parents visit every day as they continue to fight for custody.

"It's very hard. We're just trying to be optimistic and count our blessings; that's what keeps us going," Sanders told WWCP-TV. "I do not have a dependency issue. I am not addicted to marijuana as has been clearly shown with my clean drug tests." null
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