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Effects of Changing Marijuana Laws on Custody Orders

  • Several states have now passed laws that permit possession of marijuana for medical purposes and at least two states permit marijuana use and possession for recreational purposes. The laws of these states are in opposition to the federal law that still considers possession of marijuana a federal crime.
  • How do these state laws affect child custody cases and child abuse protection laws when the two come into conflict.
  • Consider the following scenario:
  • In Colorado a father lost custody of his children after obtaining a medical marijuana card indenture.
  • In Michigan a daughter is taken by child protective authorities after her mother's ex-husband complained that her legally growing medicinal marijuana plants were endangering her.
  • In New Jersey police officers visit the home after a 9-year old states in school that his mother is a HEMP advocate.
  • In Pennsylvania the legal standard in determining child custody has always been what is in the best interest of the children. T hat standard, of course, is extremely subjective. Ultimately, it is up to a judge and not a jury as to what is in the best interest of the children and if drugs, legal or otherwise, are found in the home or the judge believes are affecting the parents ability to raise their children or, more importantly, the health, safety and welfare of the children involved then, of course, custody might be relinquished. The important factor and the lesson to be learned from all of the above it that state legislators and drafters of state laws must be aware of how those laws will affect family relationships, that is the consequences of their acts must be carefully thought out with the attempt to avoid unintended consequences.
  • In Pennsylvania we do not have any laws legalizing marijuana for any purpose, medical or recreational. Before such laws are written and passed we should learn from the issues rising from marijuana law changes in other states.

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law