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The role of medical marijuana in child custody cases

The question of marijuana use has been debated across the country. While many states -- including New Hampshire -- have made it legal for people to use the drug medicinally in certain situation, other states have made it legal to use for recreational purposes. Despite being able to legally use the drugs in some circumstances, some parents in New Hampshire and across the country are facing child custody issues even when they only use the drug under the guidance of a medical care professional.

One father in another state claims that he has experienced such issues first hand. He claims that he was unaware that he was going to be a father until his ex-girlfriend called him from the hospital after the baby was born. When he arrived, he learned that social workers were not going to allow the child's mother to take him home with her, prompting him to take steps to gain custody of the child. Although he notified officials that he used medicinal marijuana following the advice of a doctor, he claims he was told that he could not have custody of the child even though tests results were inconclusive.

Officials in California, where this case occurred, claim that children are only removed when there is clear evidence that they could be harmed -- not simply because a parent may use marijuana. Such a claim would be supported by evidence that a child has access to drugs or the parent is unable to provide appropriate care due to incapacitation. However, others argue that the discretion that judges and social workers have often resulted in outcomes contrary to what these officials assert.

Some advocates argue that those who use medicinal marijuana as directed by a doctor may actually become better parents as their medical conditions may be controlled. However, many parents have faced legal battles over child custody simply for following their doctor's directions. An experienced attorney can help those in New Hampshire facing such a battle take appropriate action to protect their parenting rights.

Source: dailynews.com, "Can marijuana break up a family? Parents face custody issues over legal cannabis use", Brooke Edwards, Dec. 13, 2016

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