The Effect of Medical Marijuana on Child Custody | Kohrman Jackson & Krantz LLP

A parent’s proper and legal use of medical marijuana shouldn’t just affect the custody process. A parent may use marijuana in accordance with the law and as recommended by the doctor.

Conditions of Participation

In discussing this issue, individuals should be aware of several important laws. In Ohio, medical marijuana was introduced by both the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 3796) and the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC 3796). Under Ohio law, there are several conditions that qualify a parent to obtain a medical marijuana license. Some of these conditions include: Chron’s disease, epilepsy or other seizures, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, pain, either chronic and severe or intractable, including arthritis, chronic migraine and complex pain syndrome, and PTSD.

Just because a parent has a qualifying condition doesn’t mean they have a free hand to use marijuana in any way. As a note, a parent cannot use marijuana in the form of smoking to qualify as a medicinal marijuana treatment. However, vaping is an acceptable treatment. Additionally, a patient receiving medical marijuana cannot grow it and can only have a 90-day supply at a time. Another important stipulation is that there is no reciprocity of medical marijuana licensing between states. Unless licensed by Ohio, you cannot use marijuana for medical treatment in Ohio.

Defining Custody Agreements

In a custody case, a court must determine both custody and a parenting plan. Under ORC 3109.04, the court considers several factors to determine custody. This includes in particular the mental and physical health of the parties.

Pursuant to ORC 3109.051, the court will determine a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the minor child. The court considers the health and safety of the child and the mental and physical health of all parties. With regard to custody and parental leave, a court will consider whether a household member has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense involving neglect or abuse of a child.

A parent who uses medical marijuana under RC 3796 cannot be the sole basis for determining that a child is an abused, neglected, or dependent child. A court cannot change a custody or parenting order change if the only supporting fact is that a parent uses medical marijuana. However, if a child is found to be unsafe, the court can make the necessary changes to a custody and parenting decision.

Improper or excessive use of medical marijuana

Use of marijuana by one parent alone does not necessarily permit a change of custody or parent. However, improper or excessive use of medical marijuana can be a factor in the ultimate determination of custody or the determination of a parent residing there. If a parent is found to possess or use marijuana and later obtains a medical marijuana card, the court may consider that. The court can determine the credibility of a party receiving a medical marijuana card to legitimize their marijuana use. In all cases, a court has the opportunity to examine the credibility of the parties. Depending on the qualification conditions and the totality of the circumstances, the court may determine that this is fair use and would not affect the case.

following the right actions

Medical marijuana is not technically prescribed, but a doctor will make his or her recommendation. A parent with a qualifying medical condition and with a doctor’s recommendation must enroll in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. They activate their registration card in the online registry for patients and caregivers. Once their card is activated, they take the card to a dispensary to purchase medical marijuana. Health cards are not available from pharmacies, but from doctors. Physicians may review a patient’s purchase from a dispensary through the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. You can monitor and limit the dose amounts. A doctor can also end his recommendation.

Parents with qualifying conditions and who are following the right measures should feel secure in their custody cases. However, it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your dose and treatment.

Recommended course of action

While medical marijuana treatment alone may not affect your case, it’s important to understand that there are other factors that can affect it. In addition, it is always best to inform your attorney of your use and provide a copy of the registration card.

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