Medical Marihuana, Child Custody and Parenting Time in Oakland County Michigan
An issue that comes up often in divorce consultations these days is how the use of marihuana may effect child custody or parenting time. If a person is registered and has the proper medical marihuana licenses, then the Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) states that a person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor acting in accordance with this act. So it seems that if one has a license to use marihuana then use of it should not effect custody or parenting time. This applies to both providers (marihuana suppliers) and patients (marihuana users). The family court division of Oakland County Circuit Court generally appears to accept these provisions and apply the protection.
However, there are some exceptions to the protections offered by the MMA. First the act provides for an exception where the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated. This is a relatively new act, so there is virtually no case law to define what the courts will consider unreasonable clearly articulated substantiated danger but one could assume that getting detained for driving under the influence of marihuana would be a clear example. Another less extreme example would be leaving the substance and paraphernalia around the home easily accessible to the children or otherwise not securing the marihuana. It would be wise to ensure that the children do not smell the marihuana (or smoke) and not to use it in front of the children.
Second, the person only has the protection of the act if the person is in compliance with the act. That means if a patient is found to have more marihuana or marihuana-infused product or a provider is found with too many plants, then the protection of the MMA is removed. This type of situation usually only comes up if the patient or provider is arrested or raided by the police. In such instances, the prosecutor most likely will charge the person with a crime. If one is convicted or pleads guilty under this scenario, then the Oakland County Court family division will most likely treat the person as a common criminal so there is a good change that it will have some effect on parenting time or custody.
This is a very complicated and evolving area of the law and because of this, the judge handling this has less guidance from case law and more leeway in how she or he will handle any given situation. It is very important to consult with an attorney that is well-versed in the law and knows the attitudes and personalities of the local judges. Please do not hesitate to contact Cameron C. Goulding, Family Law & Mediation, PLC, to schedule a consultation.