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Parents who lost child over medical marijuana regain custody

For several years, there have been ongoing debates in state legislatures across the country as to whether they should join the ranks of the 20 other states that have legalized the use of marijuana for purely medicinal purposes. While you would think that all debate and controversy surrounding the subject would be solely confined to these 30 other states where the drug is still considered illegal, this is far from the case.

To illustrate, consider a recent court case in the state of Michigan, where medical marijuana was legalized back in 2008. Here, the case in question didn't involve a criminal matter, but rather the issue of child custody.

According to reports, officials with the county's Child Protective Services unit came to the home of a married Lansing couple back on September 13 and took away their infant daughter over concerns that she was being subjected to potentially harmful effects from the parents' medical marijuana.

The custody case made national headlines and galvanized the leaders of the local medical marijuana community to launch social media campaigns and organize protest rallies. It also gained the attention of the legal community, as four attorneys volunteered their time to handle what they saw as a potential landmark family law case in that state.

"The idea that medical marijuana patients can't be good parents is just drug-war hysteria," said one activist. "[Taking children away from their parents] has been going on almost since the law passed."

In recent developments, the parents of the girl appeared before a judge last Wednesday for an evidentiary hearing prior to the start of their jury trial, which was scheduled to begin this week. At this time, the presiding judge expressed reservations about the allegations and actions taken by CPS, and called a special hearing for Friday.

At this hearing, the judge ruled that the girl should be returned to her parents provided that they don't use medical marijuana around her -- something they claimed to have already doing the entire time -- and permit the girl to undergo a mouth swab test periodically to ensure that she didn't test positive for the drug.

The parents, who are approved by the state to use medical marijuana for otherwise debilitating medical conditions, were understandably thrilled to get their daughter back.

"[She] will be in her own bed tonight. We're going to hug her and read to her and love her," said the father.

It should be interesting to see if similar child custody cases arise in other medical marijuana states and whether they produce a similar result.

What are your thoughts on this case?

Remember, child custody-related matters can often prove to be complex and emotionally charged. If faced with such a difficult scenario, an experienced family law attorney here in Texas can provide answers and support, as well as the necessary action.

Source: USA Today, "Medical marijuana-using parents get baby back," Bill Laitner, Oct. 25, 2013; ProCon.org, "20 legal medical marijuana states and DC: Laws, fees, and possession limits," Sept. 16, 2013

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