Does Using Marijuana Make Me Look Like a Bad Parent in Court?
Despite growing access to medical and even recreational marijuana, there is still a stigma associated with its use. While few people would bat an eye at a parent having a glass of wine after their children are put to bed, the same might not be true for parents who wind down by smoking marijuana. Nothing about responsible marijuana use makes a person a bad parent.
The reality of marijuana use is that the potential health risks pale in comparison to those associated with alcohol abuse. A 2017 study found that while alcohol was the leading health risk factor for individuals between the ages of 15 and 49. Comparatively, there has never been a death related to marijuana, and the American Journal of Public Health has found healthy marijuana users are no more likely to die younger than healthy individuals who abstain from pot.
Medical Marijuana and Parenting in Missouri
Despite the reality of marijuana use — particularly medical marijuana as allowed under state law — the use of pot can harm your parental rights in Missouri. Unlike many other states who have authorized medical marijuana, Missouri's Amendment 2 lacked any specific protections for the custodial rights of parents enrolled in the medical marijuana program.
The result is that courts are empowered to hold the lawful use of marijuana against parents during custody hearings. The good news is that courts have found that the use of marijuana on its own is not enough to terminate parental rights. That said, current law does not prohibit the courts from making custody determinations based on medical marijuana use.
The Impact of HB 2715
HB 2715 was introduced in an effort to protect the rights of parents enrolled in the medical marijuana program. Under this proposed statute, a family court may not prohibit a participant from participating in the medical marijuana program. Likewise, the statute would also prevent family courts from abridging or restricting parental rights based on participation in the medical marijuana program.
If you have questions about your parental rights or are facing child custody issues due to the use of medical marijuana, the Joshua Wilson Law Firm could help. We make sure your voice is heard during your divorce, child custody, alimony, or asset division case. Contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.