Pubdate: Wed, 04 Feb 2015
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Author: Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press


DENVER (AP) - A Colorado proposal to require warning signs aimed at 
pregnant or nursing women at pot shops was rejected Tuesday, but the 
suggestion renewed debate about how to approach maternal marijuana use.

The bill would have required dispensaries to post signs warning about 
"dangers to fetuses caused by smoking or ingesting marijuana while pregnant."

Pot shoppers in Colorado and Washington already receive warnings that 
the drug shouldn't be used by pregnant and nursing women. The new 
proposal would have added signs and banned employees from 
recommending medical marijuana to a pregnant woman.

Republican Rep. Jack Tate said he sponsored the bill after hearing of 
pregnant women using marijuana to treat nausea and vomiting.

"It is very, very important for women to be informed consumers when 
making health care decisions," Mr. Tate said.

But he agreed to scrap the effort Tuesday and try again after his 
proposal revived an ongoing debate about maternal marijuana use.

Sadie Lane, chapter leader for Colorado Foothills Moms for Marijuana, 
testified that she used pot while pregnant and that women need to 
talk to doctors, not pot-shop operators, about using the drug while pregnant.

"Show them both sides and let them make the decision with their 
doctor," she said.

A report issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health & 
Environment this week notes that marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, 
THC, is passed to children through the placenta and breast milk. But 
the doctors who compiled the survey of existing research also noted 
that the health consequences of that THC exposure aren't fully 
understood. The report's authors found:

"Mixed" evidence for pot's link to birth defects.

"Insufficient" evidence that marijuana use during pregnancy makes 
offspring more likely to use pot themselves as adolescents.

"Moderate" evidence that maternal use of marijuana during pregnancy 
is associated with attention problems, cognitive impairment or low IQ 
in offspring.

"Mixed" evidence that marijuana use during pregnancy is associated 
with low birth weight.

Still, the doctors concluded, "There is no known safe amount of 
marijuana use during pregnancy."

The report, released Monday, reflected national conclusions on 
marijuana's health risks.

An American Academy of Pediatrics report in 2013 listed marijuana 
among the most common drugs involved in prenatal exposure that may 
pose important health risks, including possible behavior and 
attention problems in childhood.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says animal studies have 
suggested that smoking marijuana in pregnancy may harm brain 
development. But the institute also says more research is needed "to 
disentangle marijuana's specific effects from other environmental 
factors, including maternal nutrition, exposure to nurturing/neglect, 
and use of other substances by mothers."
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