Women are in fact locked up for drug-law violations at a higher rate than men in federal and state prisons and county jails. Incarcerated pregnant people are often denied prenatal care, and children are often separated from them shortly after birth.
Even in states that have decriminalized or legalized, parental marijuana use is punished, especially in Black and Latinx communities. Parents have been harassed and threatened into mandatory drug treatment programs by the New York City child welfare agency, for example. Police in Kansas have taken away children from medical marijuana patients. And drug-related child welfare cases have in fact increased in Colorado since it legalized marijuana in 2012.
“The rationale for such policies is, in part, that prenatal cannabis exposure causes persistent deleterious effects, especially on cognitive functioning,” write the researchers. “Findings from this review suggest that this assumption should be reevaluated to ensure that our assumptions do not do more harm than the drug itself.”