Could medical marijuana in Colorado impact child custody?

Though recreational marijuana was recently legalized here in Colorado, those who have a prescription for it are subject to different guidelines. Those restrictions dictate how much a person can legally possess and under what circumstances he or she is allowed to use the drug. Those who are navigating a child custody case will want to be aware that a judge may be negatively influenced by marijuana usage, even if the consumption is for medical reasons.

A nearby state that has legalized medicinal marijuana is contending with this very situation. Authorities caution that even if one's usage of pot is related to a medical condition, a court may still determine that the prescription interferes with one's ability to be an effective parent. The exact provisions of the prescription will be scrutinized until the court is satisfied that marijuana is indeed necessary to improve the user's quality of life.

If a court suspects that the user is in possession of a medical marijuana prescription for simply recreational reasons, it could affect the outcome of a child custody case. Recreational users are not allowed to have as much of the drug as a medicinal user. Above all else, a judge is going to use as much information as possible to determine whether shared or sole custody should be awarded, and even a legally obtained prescription may be viewed negatively.

Families here in Colorado who are attempting to determine child custody will want to be as open and honest with their family court as possible. Those who do use marijuana for medical reasons will want to thoroughly communicate their personal health needs so that the best interests of everyone involved -- especially the children -- can be served. Those with questions may benefit from getting educated on laws around both child custody and medical marijuana.

Source:, "Family law attorney warns high times might lead to loss of custody", Ana Ley, April 23, 2014

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