What role will medical marijuana laws play in custody cases?

Illegal drug use is a factor that can be brought into child custody disputes. Marijuana is considered a controlled substance for everyone on the federal level and for most people on the state level in Minnesota. Lawmakers recently enacted legislation that would make medical marijuana in the oil and pill forms legal for some residents in the state.

In the realm of family law issues, this new legislation raises the question of how medical marijuana use might be considered in child custody disputes.

Minnesota has followed suit when it comes to joining the list of states that have taken steps to legalize some form of medical marijuana, but the particulars of the law that was passed diverge from those enacted in some other states.

One of the major deviations is an official registration system that not only involves a doctor’s certification of a qualifying illness, but it also contains a patient research piece. This research piece requires that patients report certain data, like side effects.

With information concerning dosage or side effects, officials say that they can determine “what works and what doesn’t work, what’s safe and isn’t safe,” as was noted by the state health department’s Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala.

In child custody disputes, the focus is on the best interests of the child. Although some actions may be considered legal, if they affect the child, they may still fall into the custody conversation.

Will this extra research piece be available as evidence in custody disputes? Or will the uncertainty that already surrounds marijuana use, even for medical purposes, add an extra level of debate that will need to be ironed out?

Parents that are dealing with any issue, like a serious illness, and facing potential custody issues or already have a custody agreement in place should consult with a Minneapolis attorney. The attorney can address any concerns that they may have over how a decision could affect their parental rights.

Source: Insurance News Net, “Research is key to Minnesota’s budding medical pot program,” Jeremy Olson, June 11, 2014

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