Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

Will marijuana influence my child custody case?

If you’re in a custody battle, you might be worried about how your parenting time with your child will be affected. You don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize the time that you spend together and you strive to be the best role model possible. You’re a homeowner and successful professional – maybe even running your own start-up business. Despite all this, if you have decided to take advantage of recreational marijuana in California, your rights as a parent may be in jeopardy.

Here are some ways that cannabis may affect your child custody case.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law

Although California has legalized recreational marijuana, it remains classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law. The Department of Family and Children’s Services is a federal administrative agency and, as such, adheres to the federal law. If a parent is found to be in possession of cannabis, their child could be removed from the home, but the parent’s custody case could be adversely affected.

Leaving cannabis accessible to children

In 2014, police found medical marijuana on a coffee table in a father’s private home. Although the father had a prescription for cannabis, he was arrested because it was accessible to his child. His child was placed into foster care because police believed that the child was being neglected. It is unknown how police and federal agencies will enforce instances where marijuana is left within the reach of children now that it is fully legalized, and a parent’s rights may still be on the line.

“Drive high, get DUI”

If a person operates a motor vehicle after consuming cannabis, they can face charges of driving under the influence. DUI cases have the potential to affect your child custody case as is, but the situation can worsen if a child is in the car. A parent may be charged with reckless endangerment of a child if they are found driving while high if their children are in the car. A court may deem the parent irresponsible and question whether they can provide a safe environment for the child.

As California fine-tunes the laws about parent use of recreational marijuana, it is hard to tell how legal cannabis will affect your custody case. Whether you’re a business professional or a blue collar worker, your cannabis use may still be under the microscope in court. Exercising restraint while your kids are around may be a good idea if you don’t want to find yourself in a sticky situation.

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