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Child custody battle centers on medical marijuana

The vast majority of child custody battles that come before family courts are waged between parents who are struggling over the care and custody of their shared child or children. This is not always the case, however, as one recent news piece demonstrates. One family is fighting to regain child custody of their infant daughter, after the baby was removed from the home over issues surrounding the use of medical marijuana. The case serves as a sobering reminder that one’s right to parent is not inviolable, in Massachusetts or elsewhere, even in the absence of divorce.

The couple at the heart of this story are both medical marijuana patients. They are also growers, although it is uncertain what volume of the plant they actively raise. Their local Child Protective Services department became concerned that they were using the drug in the presence of their six-month-old daughter. As a result, the child was removed from the home and placed in foster care.

The family is actively fighting the case, and hopes to regain custody of their little girl at the conclusion of a hearing scheduled for early October. They assert that they have never used marijuana while the child was nearby, and that there has been no exposure that could harm the child. They state that they use a vapor device for other substances, but that no cannabis is used in that device.

As the family continues to fight to regain their child custody rights, many parents in Massachusetts and across the nation will continue to follow their case. While the circumstances of this story may not apply to the majority of families, the case serves as an important reminder to all parents that parental rights are not to be taken lightly. It also demonstrates that any challenge to one’s ability to care for their child requires an immediate and aggressive legal response.

Source: wlns.com, Medical Marijuana Caregiver Parents Denied Custody of Child, Joe Khalil, Sept. 20, 2013

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