HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Activist's Infant Son 'Not At Risk'
Pubdate: Sat, 05 Nov 2005
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: John Burman
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton has concluded Chris and Melissa
Goodwin's marijuana use does not put their infant son, Christian, at

The agency has notified the Goodwins its investigation -- sparked by a
report filed by a Hamilton police constable -- is finished and the
case is closed.

Chris Goodwin is the owner of Up In Smoke, Hamilton's controversial
downtown pot cafe.

And baby Christian's welfare became an issue after Goodwin told
Constable James Sutthery in a conversation at the cafe that he and his
wife smoke marijuana every day.

Goodwin -- who is "very happy" the investigation is over -- believes
his family was targeted by the police for a CAS investigation because
he is a vocal pot activist.

Hamilton police said the constable was obligated under the Police Act
and the Child and Family Services Act, which says if someone believes
a child "may be in trouble, a person shall report the concern to the

Domenic Verticchio, the CAS executive director, said yesterday the
case was never about the rights or wrongs of cannabis use.

"For us, it (was) the care-giving capacity of the people who are to
care for the child," he said.

In other words, the CAS wanted to know if both parents indulged to the
point where they were incapacitated at the same time and unable to
care for Christian.

"The parents have agreed not to allegedly smoke marijuana in the
presence of the child, or cigars for that matter," Verticchio said.

"From our perspective then, the child is not at risk."

Goodwin said he thinks the case went the only way it could and he does
not believe the CAS was trying to "get" a pot activist. They were, he
added, just doing their job.

"It confirmed what we knew all along -- which was that Christian is
under no risk of any harm due to our cannabis use," he said.

"We use it responsibly. We do not advocate irresponsible use. Of
course, and as parents, we know somebody has to be there and not be

Goodwin said when he and his wife smoke, they go outside and both do
not indulge enough to be impaired.

"Like any parent, we have to physically and mentally be able to take
care of our child," he said, adding the couple take Christian to his
grandmother's if they plan to smoke heavily together.

That, says Goodwin, is no different than getting a babysitter when
planning a night out at a local pub. "I don't drink and drive either."

Hamilton police insist their report to the CAS was motivated by their
obligations under current legislation.

Deputy Chief Tom Marlor said: "The CAS is an independent agency and
they have an independent mandate. Obviously, they have investigated
and decided."

He would not say "whether it is a good or a bad decision."
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