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Mother Gives Baby Marijuana Through Breast Milk, Gets Convicted In New Zealand

Huffington Post     First Posted: 10/30/12 EDT Updated: 10/31/12 EDT

A mother in New Zealand has been convicted of giving her infant drugs -- through her breast milk.

Prosecutors said the 29-year-old woman, who was not identified, gave marijuana to her baby by breastfeeding, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The woman, who pleaded guilty last week, was sentenced to six months' supervision.

The authorities smoked out the suspect during a police search for drugs. The suspect's partner was also arrested on drug charges.

Acting Senior Sergeant Andrew McDonald told reporters that the woman's actions amounted to child abuse.

"Child abuse is family violence in these circumstances, and it is clear this baby and its mother needed help," he said, according to the BBC. "People often believe drug-related activities are victimless, but it affects the people around them."

New Zealand experts say if the woman had not pleaded guilty, she might have been able to avoid the conviction.

Warren Brookbanks, a professor of law at the University of Auckland, told the Wanganui Chronicle that it would be difficult to prove that the woman had deliberately administered cannabis to her baby through her breast milk.

"It would be necessary for the prosecution to prove that the mother both knew she had cannabis in her system, and that she intended to administer it to the baby.

This is not the first time a child has exposed to marijuana at a very early age. Earlier this year, a three-year-old boy in Murrieta, Ca., slept for three days after accidentally eating his grandmother's pot-laced cookies.

GALLERY: QUESTIONABLE PARENTING