Olympic snowboarding gold medalist smoked pot in front of young son, claims ex
by Russ Belville | June 21, 2012 1:52 pm
Olympic gold medalist Ross Rebagliati, who shocked the world in 1998 when his positive test revealed publicly that some snowboarders smoke pot.
The first-ever Olympic snowboarding gold medalist, Ross Rebagliati, is going through a nasty divorce from his wife Alexandra. You may recall that Rebagliati tested positive for marijuana and was stripped of his gold medal for a time until the Olympic officials realized banning marijuana users from snowboarding is tantamount to banning snowboarding1.
So, of course, she is bringing up Ross’s marijuana use and claiming that he smoked pot in front of their three-year-old child, who has tested positive for cannabis metabolites on a hair test.
(National Post) Alexandra said in a filed affidavit that after the court ordered Ross not to use illegal drugs while caring for their son, the boy came home from his father’s mimicking Ross’s smoking by holding his fist to his mouth and saying, “Look, Mommy, I smoking,” according to an online report.
Alexandra says Ross “smokes marijuana on a daily basis” and that it affects his mental thinking and “presents a negative role model for the child,” according to the custody agreement.
The mother even paid to have her son’s hair tested for “cannabinoids” at a private clinic and the positive results will likely be used in court to bolster the mom’s bid for primary custody.
This contention that “cannabinoids” found in the child’s hair means Ross is a bad parent is not founded in science or reason. First, we have plenty of evidence to show child shampoos and body washes can cause false positives on drug tests:
Marijuana screening tests performed on newborns can be contaminated by use of common baby soaps and shampoos that give false-positive results, a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has found.
The team found five baby products that trigger the false positive results: Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash, Aveeno Baby Wash Shampoo, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Johnson & Johnson’s Bedtime Bath, and Johnson & Johnson Head-to-Toe Baby Wash.
…the problem is almost certainly not limited to baby products. He and colleagues found that most soaps and shampoos that contain polyquaternium-11 and cocamidopropyl betaine elicited positive marijuana test results.
Source: redOrbit (http://s.tt/1ffBM)
Somebody call child protective services quick! A terrible parent is exposing their infant child to hard drugs! Oh, wait, sorry, it’s just a beer… isn’t that adorable?
But suppose Ross is the kind of toker who “could not get out bed without smoking weed to function and he could not sleep at night unless he smoked an entire joint,” according to his ex-girlfriend. Why is that evidence in and of itself that he’s an unfit parent? The guy has probably wrecked his body in all that snowboarding and perhaps cannabis is the medicine that keeps his pain in check.
If Ross was having a glass of wine nightly with his child present, savoring a cigar on the porch while taking some Tylenol, Alexandra’s hysterical claims of Ross’s terrible parenting wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But when it’s marijuana, the mere sight of a child near a marijuana plant is enough to send law enforcement into spastic fits, much less the idea that a parent might smoke pot and their child might see it.
It’s the demonization of drug use and drug users that causes everyone to over-react in these situations. It’s a controversy even within the cannabis community. I am child-free myself, but many of my pot smoking friends have children. Some are casual about their use and smoke openly in front of their kids; others consistently retire to a back bedroom or wait for when the kids are asleep or away before they toke. But in all cases, their kids know full well that their parents smoke pot.
I suppose one might worry about the exposure to second-hand smoke for the children or some sort of “contact high”, but we really don’t have any good data to support those fears. I’m generally in support of not smoking anything in a closed room with children present, but I’m not ready to use the force of law and start taking kids away from parents who smoke cigarettes in their homes with their kids present. No matter what the second-hand smoke harm, I don’t believe it can possibly be as harmful as breaking up families.
Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform[, says,] “Even when the test is accurate, there is no evidence that smoking pot endangers children,” he says, adding, “There is overwhelming evidence that needless foster care endangers children.”
Wexler explains that the odds of abuse and neglect are higher in foster care than they would be at home…
Although marijuana exposure has not been associated definitively with child harm, testing for it and placing children in foster care unnecessarily has been.
Another argument heard in this debate is how the pot-smoking parent becomes so stoned they let their children “fend for themselves” while they toke away playing video games or something. The judge even mentioned his concern about the “intoxicating effect of marijuana” on parenting ability. Well, that’s just bad parenting and just as deplorable when it’s the six-pack of beer that causes the parent to neglect their child2. But we have laws that depend on evaluating someone’s parenting ability, not whether they drink in front of their kids. The judge eventually ruled to continue shared custody between Ross and Alexandra, noting that Ross is a “caring and capable father to the boy.
1) OK, really, they took his gold medal and then he protested because marijuana wasn’t on the banned substances list at the time, so they gave his gold medal back. I just couldn’t resist the joke.