An Australian mother faces nine months in prison after a video of her giving her 11-year-old son his “first bong” went viral last year.
In footage posted to Facebook in August 2017, the 29-year-old woman from Whyalla, South Australia, films her son smoking a marijuana pipe, while she laughs and encourages him.
With the camera pointed at her son sitting with a pipe in his hand, the young mother says, “Here we are recording [son] having his very first bong—go for it son.”
The boy lights the device and inhales. But after a few seconds, he pulls away coughing and tries to hand the drug back to his mother.
“Nah smoke it all, you wanted a cone you have to smoke the whole lot!” The woman tells her son.
She is also heard instructing the boy as he is lighting the pipe: “You have to put your finger on the hole, you have to put your finger on the back.”
Less than a day after the video was posted online, police charged the woman, who cannot legally be identified, with supplying drugs to a child, the Daily Mail reported. The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a fine of $1 million.
The 29-year-old later pleaded guilty to supplying a banned substance to a child on two occasions in 2017.
On Tuesday, March 8, a District Court Judge sentenced the mother to jail for two years, one month, and one week, with a nine-month non-parole period.
According to the Daily Mail, the woman sought to explain her actions as a misguided attempt to put her son off cannabis, after she found out that he was smoking the drug.
Judge Geraldine Davison, however, said she found the explanation “very difficult to accept given the content of the video.”
“It shows very little insight in relation to the dangers of smoking cannabis for you and your son and the dangers of exposing children to such substances at such a young age,” Judge Davison said, report the Mail.
In a letter to the court, the woman said that the drug was “a harmless, natural and safe alternative to prescription medication.”
While the woman filmed both instances of her son’s drug use, she reportedly said that someone had stolen the footage and uploaded it online without her permission.
The court also heard that the woman allegedly had a difficult childhood and had started using cannabis from the age of 11, a drug she was still smoking.
In sentencing, the judge took into account the woman’s “lack of insight,” the effect of being separated from her son, as well as the seriousness of the offense.
She will reportedly be eligible for parole in November.