Marijuana is an illegal substance in the state of Idaho. It is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, like heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. Possession of more than three ounces is a felony that could get you up to five years and $10,000. However, as marijuana has become more socially acceptable, the enforcement of marijuana laws in the Treasure Valley has become a lot more relaxed.

According to the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, almost 16% of all Idahoans over 12 use marijuana, slightly lower than the national average. If you are part of the 16% and have kids in the house, could you be charged with child abuse or endangerment? The answer is more complicated than you would think.

Can you be charged with child endangerment for having marijuana in your home?

The short answer is yes, but not for the reason you might think. After speaking with an officer from the Boise Police Department, the reason for being charged with endangerment isn't because you have an illegal substance in a home with children but because you have something considered harmful to the child within their reach. Accessibility is key to the investigation.

Plenty of legal items that, when in the reach of children, could also be considered child endangerment. Items like firearms, knives, and cleaning solutions are also regarded as hazardous to a child and are even more likely to lead to a charge of child endangerment than marijuana.

It is also important to know that the Boise Police will not be coming to your home to charge you. If they observe a situation that they believe is problematic, it is their discretion to make the charge. They would have to be responding to another call at your home, be invited in, or have a search warrant.

The officer I spoke to said that you could argue that marijuana in a home with older kids might be more harmful than with younger kids because they would have more knowledge about what it is and how to use it.

The bottom line is that while a child endangerment charge for having marijuana in a house with kids is possible, it is highly unlikely.

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