Can Using Legal Marijuana hurt your Custody Case?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use. 20 states legalized pot for medical treatment. If pot is legal, can it still be a factor in your child custody case?

All drugs in the U.S., are classified into 5 distinct schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use, and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

Schedule I drugs have no currently accepted medical use, have a high potential for abuse, and are considered the most dangerous with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.

Believe it or not, marijuana is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug. Along with heroin and LSD, marijuana is considered one of the most dangerous drugs under federal law.

Although illegal under federal law, what if pot was legal in your state? Could it still be a factor in your custody case? These questions are worth asking because over 20 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and it may only be a matter of time before Florida does.

While the legal standard for parental responsibility in Florida is ‘the best interest of the child’ test, maintaining an environment for a child free from substance abuse is a factor courts must consider in determining the best interests of a child.

In Colorado, pot smoking parents fear the legal use of marijuana can still be used to take their children away. Anti-marijuana-legalization parents argue that pot in a home threatens kids.

There are people who are very reckless with what they’re doing, leaving marijuana brownies on the coffee table or doing hash oil extraction that might blow the place up. Too often with law enforcement, they’re just looking at the legality of the behavior and not how it is affecting the children”.

The Colorado Court of Appeals sided with a marijuana-using dad who lost visitation rights though he never used the drug around his daughter. The court reversed a lower court’s decision that the father couldn’t have unsupervised visitation until passing a drug test.

In Florida, we side with federal law, so marijuana use is illegal. However, many other states have legalized it in opposition to federal law. If you are involved in a child custody dispute, legal pot smoking is a very murky area of law to be aware of.

More on the controversy over legal marijuana and child custody can be found in the Washington Post.