Earlier this month, we told you about the Everett parents who were arrested in a drug raid after their 13-year-old daughter told her school counselors about the pot growing in her house. She also told them that her parents (both of whom have medical marijuana licenses) had her doing chores like trimming and potting the plants and that she was "tired of always smelling like marijuana." Now, after two and a half weeks with no charges filed, the Herald reports Monday evening that Snohomish County prosecutors have now charged the father, Brian Sledge, with manufacturing marijuana and illegally involving minors in the growing operation. They also charged the mother, Jenny Sledge, with possession of marijuana.
CPS didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on the kids' status.
It should be noted that the parents, despite their medical marijuana licenses, are accused of growing about twice the state's limit of 15 plants per licensee.
Police say they found 67 plants.
They say the parents were growing weed for profit, and that the kids were told the pot helped the family make ends meet, and that they needed to pull their weight.
The law surrounding the entire case is hazy. Washington state law is practically silent on what children can and can't do around medical marijuana. Prosecutors, however, are alleging the pot wasn't being used medically, but being sold as illegal merchandise, so the medical marijuana laws seemingly wouldn't matter.
Still, another part of Washington law says that the 15-plant limit the Sledges were seemingly in violation of "may be overcome with evidence of a qualifying patient's necessary medical use."
Adding exponential importance to the whole affair is the fate of the four children, who could be at the mercy of the courts and, possibly, of the state's foster-care system.
Much attention has been paid to the young girl who informed school officials, and later, police, about the plants and her duties in helping to raise them. Whether she envisioned the long legal process that now awaits her, her parents and her siblings isn't clear.
What is clear is that once the case is settled, the nondescript rules surrounding the place of children in a medical marijuana-licensed household will likely get a bit more specific.