Marijuana Is Legal, But Can Still Affect Your CA Custody Hearing
Since January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana for adults over 21 in California became legal. But as many people soon found out, there are restrictions to the new law, especially when it comes to child custody.
LA Weekly recounted the story of young parents who were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department in front of their children, despite having medical marijuana licenses. The two children were taken away by the Department of Children and Family Services, and it took almost seven months for their parents to win them back.
The article quoted Pamela Ray Tripp, an LA County child-welfare legal specialist, saying: “In my 20-year career, I have seen parents lose their children scores and scores of times where the only allegation was cannabis use or abuse….
“Change doesn’t really come in the child-welfare community until there’s public awareness and education.”
You Can Lose Custody Because of Cannabis.
Week after week, it seems, there are news stories about parents who had their children taken away because they were marijuana users. Most of these stories involve medicinal users, many of whom use cannabis strains high in cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that won’t get one high but will help treat certain medical conditions. Many stories also involve parents who didn’t even medicate in front of their children, but simply admitting to it or having it in the home was enough to have their children taken away.
It’s heartbreaking, and in most cases, unwarranted. In 2013, the Los Angeles DCFS released a report that revealed in many cases where parents or guardians lost their children to cannabis use, there was no other abuse or neglect. It’s also largely a matter of biases of the courts and Child Protective Services in different counties, as some agencies don’t see it as a problem as long as parents are responsible about their use.
Guidelines to Follow If You Use Cannabis.
The following are some ways that parents can ensure they are staying within responsible guidelines.
- When a child is in the home, own or grow the bare minimum of marijuana that’s needed.
- Keep all marijuana out of sight. Keep it in clearly labeled jars and store it with other medicines, out of reach of the child.
- When cooking with marijuana, keep the food out of reach of the child and far away from the child’s food.
- Do not use marijuana with a child present.
- Do not use so much marijuana that you cannot care for your child, even if he or she has gone to bed.
- Never drive while using marijuana.
- Maintain a written journal documenting the safety precautions you have taken to keep marijuana away from your child.
- Do not tell Child Protective Services or a family court judge that you use marijuana unless directly asked. You are not obligated to volunteer information.
If Child Protective Services has visited your home, or you’re in a custody battle where your private marijuana use is being used against you, speak to Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. You have rights in the state of California, and we will fight hard to make sure they are upheld. Call us today at (858) 458-9500.