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Medical marijuana and joint custody issues

While all parents need to behave around their children, for divorced parents, the stakes are somewhat higher. You have a former spouse who may still harbor ill feeling towards you and be more than happy to use some indiscretion to make your life as a parent difficult.

Child custody decisions may hinge on many factors, but issues involving alcohol and drugs can quickly rise to the top of the list of items a court may examine very closely in the context of disputed custody of the child.

For some, the recent liberalization of laws throughout the nation governing the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of medical conditions has been a blessing. Individuals with various conditions find great relief by using different types of medical marijuana or products derived from marijuana.

But if you have shared custody of a child after a divorce, what happens if you need to use medical marijuana? For one man in Maine, it means losing custody of his daughter.

The state's highest court denied his claims that it was because of his use of medical marijuana, but instead, the use of the drug impaired his ability to care for his daughter and his conduct was not her best interests.

The court pointed to the large quantity of medical marijuana he had in his home and his sharing it with friends, suggesting his child could too easily gain access to the drug.

While Missouri does not yet permit medical marijuana, such a bill has been introduced in the legislature. These cases are likely to create difficult situations, placing a parent's right to child custody, a concern for the safety of the children and the right of those with severe medical conditions to receive effective medical treatment at odds.

Bangordailynews.com, "Maine Supreme Court rules against medical marijuana patient in child custody appeal," Nok-Noi Ricker, January 29, 2015

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