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Michigan, which already had a robust medical marijuana industry, just became one of the newest states across the nation to also allow recreational use of the drug for adults. While the state is still working out the details surrounding the new law, the increased access to marijuana could spell trouble for parents -- especially those involved in custody cases.

To a lot of parents, that doesn't sound right or fair, but here's why it could be a real issue if you're accused of endangering your child because you're using weed:

  • Regardless of state laws regarding marijuana, it is still a Class I illegal drug under federal law. Having marijuana in your home with your child is equal, in that respect, to having heroin.
  • When a parent uses any mind-altering substance, there's always a potential question about their ability to function. Could the parent respond to an emergency while under the influence of the substance? Can the parent effectively care for the child while under the influence?
  • Child custody and visitation can be challenged for the use of other legal substances. For example, a parent who uses alcohol to excess could be considered unfit or endangering his or her child just as easily.
  • Despite the legal changes, there are still social biases against "pothead" parents. Some family court judges may not be as enlightened about marijuana use as others.

Ultimately, the judge in a custody case has to consider the best interests of the child -- and that gives the judge a lot of latitude to consider things like a parent's recreational activities and vices. If you use medical or recreational marijuana and you're involved in a custody case, your attorney can provide valuable guidance.

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