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Medical Marijuana and Child Custoday

“But I have a medical marijuana card.”

More and more the issue of medical marijuana use is raised when dealing with child custody battles and whether the medical marijuana user would be entitled to an equal child visitation parenting plan, or something less.  California and thirteen other states have made medical marijuana use legal, but many family law judges are continuing to look at the “best interest of the child” standard, and marijuana use becomes a personal, subjective issue.

Clearly, there is a division between those who support medical marijuana and those who do not.  Parents and activists who support the use argue that no parent should be punished for using a legal, doctor-recommendation to treat their medical condition.  The argument stands that, medical marijuana use is no different than prescription medication use, used to treat medical conditions.

The other side of the coin, which is heavily supported by social workers, mediators, and many judges, oppose having children exposed to marijuana for any reason.  Some family law judges recognize the law and treat medical marijuana like any other prescription or like alcohol and make orders to refrain from use prior to and while exercising child visitation.  Other judges have demanded letters from the treating physician, explaining that all other medical avenues have failed, and medical marijuana is the last and only resort, thereby giving in to the use with very strict provisions in the child custody orders.

Typical child custody / child visitation order have provisions that neither parent will consume alcohol (or excessive alcohol) within so many hours prior to the child’s arrival, nor during the visit.  These orders are mirrored for the use of medical marijuana.  If the parent is using marijuana day and night, around the clock, the judge will probably look to the “best interest of the child” and limit parenting time or entertain the idea of supervised visits.  If the parent uses the medical marijuana with limitations, at times when the child is not around, after the child is in bed, with discretion and in moderation, they may not be crossing the line that impacts the “best interest” standard to change the parenting time or visitation schedule.

If you have any questions regarding medical marijuana use and child custody, or child visitation plans and how using marijuana might impact your court order, the Law Office of Heath L. Baker will help you.  Please contact us at (951) 222-2228, or at our website: www.heathbakerlaw.com.  We would love to talk to you in person and discuss the family law or divorce issues that are important to you.