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Medical marijuana user fighting to regain child custody rights

An unusual custody case is underway between a couple and the Child Protective Services department within their state of residence. The parents have five children, all of whom have been removed from their care based on concerns over child endangerment. The root of those concerns is the fact that the father is a user of medical marijuana, and that both parents were planning to move to a neighboring state to start a legal grow operation to help others who use the drug to treat a variety of ailments. The case had led to a great deal of debate in Texas and elsewhere, with many people unsure of how child custody should be handled when medical marijuana is a factor.

One attorney went on record to say that medical marijuana is a target for various Child Protective Services departments. Because marijuana use was illegal for such a long time, states have not yet come to a conclusion on how to approach CPS cases where the now-legal use of the drug plays a role. As a result, many parents are finding that while they may be legally able to use marijuana, that choice could impact their ability to raise their own children.

In this case, the father had a prescription for marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder as well as chronic pain. He served in the United States Navy, and is a Gulf War veteran. He claims that marijuana has helped him cope with pain, anxiety and depression. While he holds a valid prescription for the drug in a neighboring state, medical marijuana use remains illegal in his state of residence, which may be where the problem originated.

The five children have been in state custody since April 2015, and the parents claim that they have only been able to see their kids three times since the family was separated. The communications director for the state's CPS department would not comment on the particulars of the case, but stated that it is not the policy of CPS to remove a child from a home simply based on marijuana use. As the case moves forward, people in Texas and across the nation will wait to see how the controversial child custody matter is resolved.

Source: alternet.org, "U.S. Veteran's Children Taken Away Over His Use of Medical Marijuana", Josiah M. Hesse, Feb. 1, 2016

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