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The Implications of Medical Marijuana in Kansas Family Matters

Weber Law Sept. 25, 2015

Parents should be advised of the risks of taking drugs, especially medical marijuana if they have minor children living with them.  The majority of the states have legalized the use of medical marijuana or medical CBD (cannabidiol) oil.  However, Kansas has not legalized the use of medical marijuana. Parents that take medical marijuana in Kansas risk losing their children. The courts review the parents as irresponsible.

Medical marijuana patients who are also parents may be fraught with difficulties and may have to answer to child protective services, retain criminal or family law attorneys, and face judges regarding custody/child welfare proceedings who may have a bias against the use of medical marijuana. Even if your children are not taken away, a history of drug and alcohol abuse may be used against you if divorcing parents are fighting over custody.

Typically, if someone such as a police officer, neighbor, friend, colleague, child’s teacher, or even your own child reports to child protective services that a parent is using medical marijuana, the agency will send someone such as a social worker to investigate the safety of the child and may even determine whether or not the courts should get involved. The agency may want to investigate the home and possibly remove the children from the parent or legal guardian’s home. The matter may even go as high as family court. The court may order drug therapy or ongoing drug test even so that parent may regain custody of the child. The agency or other parent (if parties or divorced or separated and or never married) may even seek to terminate parental rights entirely and send the children to relatives or making them the dependent of the state.

Recently, a mother in the state of Kansas lost custody of her child because she was using medical marijuana to control her Crohn’s disease. Unfortunately, she lost custody of her son after he reported to his classmates and teachers during a drug education class about his mother’s drug use. Specifically, the woman claimed she could not move from her couch due to her illness and had been sick for many years and tried to move to Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal, but was unable to stay there due to financial issues. The court awarded her son to her separated husband.

Another mother, originally from Kansas, who also uses medical marijuana for controlling her seizures, has also been in the headlines.  She has been embroiled in a custody battle over her daughter against the state. She turned to medical marijuana, which her family objected to as a form of treatment and moved first to Colorado and eventually to Arizona with her daughter where the use of medicinal marijuana is legal.  Due to financial reasons she had to send her daughter to her brother, a Kansas police officer, with the intention that it would be temporary and signed a temporary shared custody agreement with him. After disagreements ensued between the parties, The woman’s brother reported her medical marijuana use to child protective services which, in turn, placed the child in foster care and also deemed the brother unfit for not meeting agency requirements.  As a result, the soman fought for custody but was told by a family court judge that that she needed to move back to Kansas to regain custody of her daughter.

The Weber Law Office: Working With Parents Facing Custody Issues

Drug and alcohol abuse can become problematic in custody or visitation disputes. Judges may impose restrictions upon your relationship with your children if you have had a history of abuse or a current substance abuse problem.  Conversely, if your soon to be former spouse has had issues abusing drugs or alcohol in the past we can fight for primary custody.  Please contact the seasoned Kansas Family law Attorney at The  Weber Law office, P.A. today to discuss your legal options