A child taken from her parents because the parents smoked pot has died in foster care from physical abuse by the foster mother. Alexandria Hill passed away at the age of 2 after doctors could not save her from brain hemorrhaging and retinal hemorrhaging behind both eyes. The injuries came from her foster mother, Sherill Small of Rockdale Texas, throwing the toddler to the ground—something that Small initially denied, and then confessed to when Hill’s injuries did not match Small’s story. Small has been arrested for murder.
But why was Alex Hill in foster care in the first place? Because her parents smoked pot. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service (TDFPS) took Alex from her parents. The parents were deemed to have “limited parenting skills,” on account of their marijuana habit, which Alex’s father Joshua Hill claim only happened while Alex was asleep, and an incident in which Alex was almost dropped while being passed between two people.
For a state (Texas) that is so hell-bent on the idea that people can do what they want and the government should stay out of the way, the TDFPS’ decision to remove Alex from her parents is one of the most egregious examples of puritanical nanny-statism in recent memory.
“We never hurt our daughter,” Hill said. “She was never sick, she was never in the hospital, and she never had any issues until she went into state care.”
Is it irresponsible to smoke pot while your daughter is asleep? Maybe a little. One never knows when their two year-old will suddenly require attention, and in more serious cases, their mental faculties would be detrimentally impaired. But let’s be clear: we aren’t having this conversation if the Hills were drinkers instead of smokers. Ditto if they had anxiety issues, even ones that involved prescription medication. We aren’t having this conversation if they hire a nanny to spend the night while they go camping. Alexandria Hill was taken from her parents because of America’s puritanical notion that smoking marijuana is morally degrading in a way that drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes is not.