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Senate Bill Impugns Medical Marijuana for Custodial Parents

Clarkston Legal Feb. 28, 2014

Over the five years since Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act was passed through voter initiative in November 2008, we’ve had many cases in family court where a parent’s medical marijuana use was raised as an issue in the case. Generally, family court judges do not shine to pot smoking parents.

Now, the Michigan Senate has taken-up the cause with a bill introduced by Senator Rick Jones, a former Sheriff from Eaton County. The bill, enrolled in the Judiciary Committee, gives a family court judge the power to review a parent’s pot use, even when sanctioned by a properly issued medical marijuana card.

If passed, Senate Bill 736 would provide that when a judge makes a finding that a card-carrying medical marijuana patient’s use of pot interferes with that parent’s ability, judgment, or skill to parent her child, then the judge could order any of the following remedies:

  • Compel the patient to execute a release so the court could review the underlying medical condition on which the medical marijuana card is based, and allow the court to examine the relationship between the patient and the qualifying physician that endorsed the parent’s pot use;

  • Compel the parent to submit to an independent medical examination to determine whether the parent’s continued use of medical marijuana remains necessary or whether an alternative medication would be in the “parent’s best interest”; [Wow]

  • Enjoin the parent from the continued use of medical marijuana if, upon the court’s review of the parent’s medical records, it appears that continued use of medical marijuana is not in that parent’s best interests; [also Wow]

  • Allow the parent to continue her use of medical marijuana under the “qualified physician’s directive”, and under the continued review of the patient/parent’s medical records for the duration of the custody case, “to determine whether there is reason for concern” that the parent’s continued use of medical marijuana interferes with that parent’s ability, judgment, or skill to parent the child; and

  • The ominous “catchall” of issuing, “any other order that the Court considers necessary that is otherwise within the authority of the court in the best interests of the child.”

Putting a medicated parent under the microscope in family court is nothing new. But this proposed legislation, which we here at this blog do not see passing, would drag the family court judge and the treating physician into the medical marijuana arena.

In the unlikely even that this bill passes into law, just sit back and watch the sparks fly…