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Medical marijuana's impacts on child custody

Pennsylvania has not yet legalized medical marijuana, though that change could be on the way in the future. You might wonder exactly what medical marijuana would have to do with family law -- after all, the topic seems more suited to the criminal realm. In fact, child custody cases can be seriously affected by the use of medical marijuana, which may prevent a parent from enjoying certain visitation rights.

Even though changes could be on their way to legalize medical marijuana in the state, the legality of the drug is not the primary concern during a custody dispute. Judges must instead consider the best interests of the child. Parents will be evaluated to determine their physical and mental status if they use medical marijuana. Even though medical marijuana is legal, it is just like any other drug in that parents who are impaired cannot be fully effective. Some parents are limited to supervised visitation because of their medical marijuana use, even if they have a legitimate disease.

Ultimately, those who are abusing the system should be aware that they may not receive visitation rights if they do not actually need medical marijuana. A medical marijuana card on its own does not mean that you will be able to retain custody of your children. Just like alcohol use, if you are intoxicated on marijuana every day, you may not be permitted to have physical custody of your kids.

Parents who are seeking treatment with medical marijuana need to make sure that they have a reasonable rationale behind using the drug. That means that they must have a diagnosis from a credible medical professional. Dosage information and method of ingestion can also be helpful during child custody proceedings.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, "Family law attorney warns high times might lead to loss of custody" Ana Ley, Apr. 23, 2014

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