2 Nov 2012

Mother convicted over cannabis in breast milk

A woman has been convicted of giving cannabis to her 3-month old baby through her breast milk, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in New Zealand.

The 29-year-old Wanganui woman was charged with administering a class C controlled drug, namely cannabis, to a person under the age of 18. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Wanganui District Court last week to six months' supervision.


The charges were laid after a police search of a house for drugs. The woman's partner also faced charges over the drug raid. Acting Senior Sergeant Andrew McDonald said the woman's actions amounted to child abuse. "People often believe drug-related activities are victimless, but it affects the people around them." Adults making bad choices affected the most vulnerable in the community, and it was not okay to affect children by those choices, Mr McDonald said. "We need to take the children's needs into consideration."

University of Auckland law Professor Warren Brookbanks said the case was almost certainly the only one of its kind in New Zealand. It was unlikely to have been successful if the woman had not pleaded guilty because it would be very difficult to prove that the woman had deliberately administered cannabis to her baby through her breast milk.

NZ Herald News