Observations on the intersection of legal pot use and family law

| May 8, 2014 | Child Custody |

The passage of a law in Georgia approving marijuana use in some prescribed fashion for persons suffering from medical ailments would obviously cast ripples across a broad sphere of social and legal concerns, including family law.

In any discussion centered on medical marijuana use and legislation in the state, though, talk is defined in terms of “if” and not “when.” Conjecture surrounds the subject and, notwithstanding recent movement aimed at implementing major changes to the state’s stance on medical pot, a new law authorizing use for some people hardly seems imminent.

That view seems firmly buttressed by recent developments that have occurred in the state regarding medical marijuana. A House bill authorizing approval sailed easily through that body, but died in the Senate earlier this spring. A Senate Resolution also died at the same time.

Of course, things might change some day, and Georgia’s name could be added to the growing list of states (now numbering 21) that have approved medical pot.

If that happens, it will be interesting to see how Georgia courts react to legal pot use in the context of family law. Will authorized marijuana use be challenged on occasion by a non-using parent, for example, who argues that child custody arrangements should be revisited because of the use of pot in another parent’s house in the presence of a child?

In other words, and despite lawful use, should the parental fitness of a using parent ever be legally questioned?

Such a question is already being asked in other states, with one media commentator pointing out the ample discretion of judges to consider such matters and their willingness to do so.

In fact, drug use already does play a central role in many Georgia family law matters. Enactment of a medical marijuana law would likely just add to the drug-related cases that family law courts are addressing.

In Georgia, a proven Atlanta-based family law attorney can answer questions and provide strong representation in any case involving children and custody.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Family law atttorney warns high times might lead to loss of custody,” Ana Ley, April 23, 2014

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