How Will Marijuana Use Affect Your Child Custody Case in New York State?
A lot of people don’t realize that New York State became the 23rd state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. We still don’t know – and probably won’t know for a couple of years – who will be allowed to prescribe it and for what illnesses. Medical marijuana will only be prescribed as a pill or through vaporization, and will not be legal to smoke.
A proposal was made by Senator Liz Krueger earlier this year to legalize recreational marijuana in New York. This would mean you could:
- enjoy marijuana;
- grow up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use; and
- possess up to two ounces of marijuana.
The reason this is important is that marijuana has been prohibited in New York for over forty years – prohibition lasted only thirteen years – and over those forty years, the use of marijuana has not declined. It has resulted in 20 million arrests, costing the state tremendous tax dollars and losing the taxes which could have been charged, like the taxes charged on liquor.
So people are smoking marijuana, and it’s not a big deal to the point that the state may legalize it. So then, what’s the big deal if a mother or a father tests positive for marijuana while going through a custody dispute?
The answer: “It’s really not a big deal.” Marijuana is now treated very similarly to alcohol. A positive test is insufficient proof of any sort of neglect.
Brooklyn Family Court recently dismissed a child neglect case filed by ACS. Despite a positive drug test for marijuana, the court ruled that there was no proof of intoxication and no proof of any danger to the child. Therefore, the neglect was dismissed.
If you’re going through a custody dispute, and marijuana use is alleged, in order to be important, you must prove that the other party smokes, ingests or vaporizes marijuana to the point of intoxication; and that they do so while the child or children are entrusted in their care.
** Joshua Katz does not endorse the use of marijuana or any other recreational drugs.