Chanetto Rivers of the Bronx was compensated $75,000 by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). The reason: the authority had tried to take her newborn son into care because she had smoked cannabis – and it was completely legal.
Chanetto Rivers had smoked cannabis just hours before she gave birth to her child. When asked at the hospital about drug or alcohol use, she admitted her cannabis use. A drug test conducted on both her and her newborn was positive for cannabis. Two days later, ACS opened a neglect case and attempted to place the child in care. However, according to ACS guidelines, cannabis in a baby’s system is not enough to remove it unless the child shows impairment. No impairments were noted in Rivers’ baby. Ultimately, a judge allowed Rivers to get custody of her child.
Accusations of racism and criticism of the ACS
Rivers, who is black, claimed that the ACS targeted her because of her race. The agency has been criticized in the past for its treatment of black families and its strict policies toward parents who use cannabis.
Niji Jain, Rivers’ lead attorney, emphasized that the compensation payment shows that “actions speak louder than words.” The city said in a statement that it had carefully reviewed the case and concluded that this settlement was in the best interest of all parties.
This case raises important questions about the role of cannabis in modern America, discrimination against minorities, and the limits of government intervention in the lives of citizens. It is a wake-up call for everyone to be aware of their rights and make sure they are not treated unfairly.