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Medical Marijuana and Child Custody in New York

Can legal marijuana use affect custody in Long Island?

Monday, July 7, New York joins the ranks of 22 other states where medical marijuana has been legalized, but of course, restrictions apply. Yet if other states can be relied on as examples of what is to come, a parent who uses marijuana legally could still have this used against them in custody hearings!

First off, the recent law will not go into effect until over a year from now. Furthermore, smoking marijuana is still illegal, even if it is for medicinal purposes. But soon, patients suffering from certain conditions, including AIDS, cancer, and epilepsy can benefit from medical marijuana in vaporized or oil form.

Even once certain marijuana users will be protected from criminal charges, parental rights could still be in jeopardy. While law enforcement can allow medical marijuana, a family judge might find this usage to be a negative factor in a custody case. We can look at states where the issue has already been brought up.

  • In Colorado, a father lost parental rights when he received his medical marijuana registration card.
  • In Michigan, a protection agency took a child away from parents who legally grow medical marijuana. This was because an ex-spouse claimed the pot-growing was harmful to children.
  • In New Jersey, a mother landed in hot water because she promoted hemp at her child's school.

After a stressful legal process, all these parents regained their rights, but the law is still not clear in this area in any state. One of the issues involved is the fact that state laws regarding marijuana are often in conflict with federal laws. Then there is the ever-present difficulty of determining what the "best interests of the child" truly means. Unfortunately, it can be all-too-easy for an ex to claim that this marijuana usage is akin to abuse or endangerment of a child.

If custodial rights are disputed in a court, these hearings will almost never be straightforward. You need powerhouse advocacy on your side to protect your parental rights so you can protect your child's future. Call Meyers Law Group, P.C. to find out how an experienced Long Island family attorney can fight for your and your family!