Child Custody and Medical Marijuana: a New Problem for Parents

As Illinois readers know, in some states, medical marijuana is legal with a prescription. Cannabis is used to treat certain medical conditions and improve the lives of people who live with chronic illnesses. The argument over the legality of medical cannabis becomes extremely complex when it crosses over state lines. In some cases, as one military veteran and his wife found out, it can impact child custody as well.

A retired U.S. military member and his wife lost custody of five of their children because of his use of medical marijuana. Although he does have a valid prescription, it is not legal in the state where he previously resided. He was planning to move to the state where his prescription was legal, and while making preparations, his children were taken into child protective services.

A family member reported the family to authorities, who took the children because of reported concerns over a risk of exposure to or consumption of cannabis. These fears are often cited in cases involving medical marijuana, but there is little evidence that a contact high is possible and other risks are extremely low. When feelings over the legality of cannabis and the morality of its use collide with interstate custody, complex legal battles ensue.

A complex child custody battle merits the assistance of an experienced attorney. An Illinois parent should take definitive steps to protect his or her parental rights while still protecting the best interests of the children. A case evaluation can identify options available to parents with concerns over medical marijuana and custody of their kids.

Source:, “US veteran’s children taken away over his use of medical marijuana“, Josiah Hesse, Feb. 1, 2016

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