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Even “Legal” Marijuana Use Can Hurt Your Custody Case

Dear Clients and Friends,

Colorado, Washington and a few other states have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and many others have decriminalized it or approved it for medical purposes.

But just because someone is possessing, smoking or growing pot in a place where it won’t cause them to go to jail doesn’t mean there aren’t other legal consequences. Marijuana use can still be a big issue in a child custody case.

Regardless of whether marijuana smoking is a crime, judges still consider what’s in the best interests of a child when deciding on custody and visitation.

For instance, a court in Colorado stripped a father of custody after he started using marijuana for medical purposes, finding that exposure to pot smoking at home would not be in the children’s best interests.

In Michigan, child-welfare agents took a girl from the home of her mother and stepfather after the mother’s ex-husband reported that the couple were growing pot in their house. Even though they were doing so legally for medical use, the state was concerned enough to remove the child.

And in California, parents sued the city of Coronado after authorities seized their children for 364 days following the father’s admission that he legally smoked medical marijuana outside his children’s presence.

Use of marijuana where minors are present may attract the attention of Child Protective Services and this could result in having your children removed from your custody, and in some situations it could lead to one’s arrest for child endangerment. A misdemeanor conviction for child endangerment is punishable by up to one year in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine. A felony child endangerment conviction is punishable by up to six years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

If you or someone you know has a custody or other family law matter that you would like to discuss with us we continue to offer a free initial phone evaluation and we invite you to take advantage of this free offer.

Best,                                                                                         Ron

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