Comedian Ralphie May and his wife filed for divorce. She is getting temporary sole child custody, and the comedian will take random drug tests twice a month. This raises the issue of substance abuse and child custody.
Marijuana and Child Custody
The couple has two children together, an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, and co-starred in their own podcast called Perfect 10. Turner wants sole physical custody and joint legal custody of the kids, plus spousal support from May.
The judge in their divorce has provided timesharing in the case. However, the judge only granted Ralphie two weekly visits with his children, and one Skype call. Additionally, a court appointed monitor must be present for the first 3 weeks.
Ralphie, who’s made no secret of his love of marijuana, has agreed to submit to random drug tests twice a month. Ralphie rose to fame after he won the runner-up spot on the first season of Last Comic Standing.
However, in January, he had to be escorted out of his own show by police after being too high on marijuana to continue.
Pot’s Growing Acceptance
I have written about the use of marijuana in custody cases. No data exist to show how often marijuana use comes up in custody disputes, or how often child welfare workers intervene in homes where marijuana is used.
But in dozens of interviews, the consensus is clear: marijuana’s growing acceptance is complicating the task of determining when kids are in danger. Right now, Florida’s legislative session is underway, and marijuana is being debated.
Medical marijuana implementation plans are being introduced and discussed in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. Florida’s Amendment 2, which was favored by 71% of voters in November 2016, may expand the previously limited Florida medical marijuana law.
Florida has not legalized recreational marijuana. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. Seven states and the District of Columbia have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Most recently, California – where May and Turner filed for divorce – passed a measure in legalizing recreational marijuana use the way Colorado considers marijuana use legal.
Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I controlled substance, like heroin, under federal law.
Whether you are a parent with a medical marijuana prescription, the analysis of whether your custody case can be impacted by smoking pot will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. There is no hard and fast rule for the use of medical marijuana by parents involved in a custody dispute.
Florida Child Custody & Pot
Compare pot smoking to drinking alcohol. It is legal for adults to consume alcohol, to drink alcohol at home, and to have alcohol present in their home.
However, the State of Florida may lawfully remove children from their parents if a court determines that the children have been exposed to alcohol abuse, or there is a threat of, or injury as a result of the use of alcohol.
In divorce and child custody cases, one of the factors judges in Florida look to is whether or not a parent has the demonstrated capacity and disposition to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.
The Florida statute does not distinguish between legal and illegal substances. Our law only considers whether substances are abused or not. So, marijuana, even if legal for recreational or medical uses, can still be a factor in your child custody case.
The TMZ article on Ralphie May’s divorce is here.