Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parent's MMJ use not necessarily child endangerment

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM


Last week, a Court of Appeals panel ruled 2-1 that a parent's medical marijuana use does not in and of itself constitute child endangerment, and that each decision must be made on a case-by-case basis, reports Law Week.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado for a decade, but urinalysis testing for marijuana is still used in some child custody matters. The parenting plan agreed to by divorced couple David Lyman and Catherine Parr called for the father to undergo “[o]ngoing UA’s [urinalysis tests] and drug screenings to demonstrate that he does not return to marijuana use.”

Later, Lyman obtained a MMJ card to help treat knee and back pain resulting from a previous motorcycle accident, so he filed a motion requesting the judge remove the UA requirement from his parenting plan. Unfortunately, the judge declined the request, citing Lyman's voluntary signature as proof he was bound to the terms, or "was stuck with it."

A year later, El Paso County District Judge Rebecca Bromley upheld that order, but modified it to say Lyman could only have supervised parenting time until he could demonstrate to the court that his use of medical marijuana is not detrimental to his child. Bromley also held that Lyman could not petition for unsupervised visitation until he submitted a clean hair follicle test.

The Court of Appeals overturned some of Bromley's order, writing that the judges "do not express an opinion as to whether medical marijuana use may constitute endangerment; rather, we conclude only that endangerment was not shown here. We also express no view on father’s constitutional right to use medical marijuana and whether the exercise of this right should bar UAs and drug screening.”

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