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Medical marijuana users face uphill child custody battle

The state says that it is legal to use medical marijuana; but are parents held to an unfair standard? Experts in Michigan say that too many parents face unfair discrimination during child custody proceedings because they hold medical marijuana cards. Legal officials and decision-makers are often skeptical about the legitimacy of patients' marijuana use, which is causing serious barriers for parents who are using the drug as a medical solution.

In one of the most recent cases, a baby was taken from her parents after her mother was found to be using medical marijuana. Now, a custody battle is still raging between the mother of that child and her ex-husband. The child custody battle does not have to do with the baby, but rather with that girl's older brother, who is now 7. Both the mother and her new husband use marijuana products for medication, and the woman's ex-husband is seeking to block their visitation rights because of that practice.

The mother suffers from multiple sclerosis. She rubs marijuana oil on her spinal area to allow her to walk again. Her husband consumes oil twice a day to prevent seizures. In 2009, he suffered 130 seizures; they went away entirely after he began the marijuana regimen. When a court ordered him to stop taking the drug because of the custody hearing, he suffered eight seizures in five months.

Those two patients are still unable to access the woman's older son because of their marijuana use. These decisions seem to directly contradict the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, which states that parents should not be denied custody if they comply with the law's provisions. No parent should have to fight an unfair custody dispute simply because a judge is uncomfortable with a legitimate medical substance that is used in the home.

Source: Metro Times, "Medical marijuana use at center of custody battle" Larry Gabriel, May. 05, 2014

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