“If I’m in a custody battle, can medical cannabis be used against me if I have my card?”
According to Pennsylvania Health and Safety Statute § 10231.2103, family law courts cannot use medical marijuana as the sole basis for determining custody or visitation. Therefore, being a medical marijuana patient will not affect one’s parental rights. However, if the condition’s symptoms are deemed significant enough to impact the specific case (such as severe mental illness) one’s status as a medical marijuana patient cannot protect him or her from consequences resulting from such diagnosis. Use of medical cannabis or card-holder status alone will not affect individual custody decisions so long as he or she is a patient certified by the state.
Here’s Some Tips for Best Practices (from SafeAccessNow)
- When residing in a house with a child, possess or cultivate as little as your condition allows.
- Keep all medical marijuana out of plain sight, ideally in clearly labeled medicinal jars and with other prescription medications, in a place that children cannot access. If you cultivate outdoors, surround your garden surrounded with an impermeable fence that will deny access to children. If you cultivate indoors, do not include lamps or other fire hazards, and secure the garden in a locked room or devise another way to deny access to children.
- If you cook with medical marijuana, clearly label any resultant food products as medicinal, and keep them far away from any children’s food.
- Use discretion when medicating, and do not do so when your child is present. Specifically, think about medicating when you have several hours open before any interaction with the child or after he/she is already in bed.
- If your child can understand, specifically explain to her/him that the marijuana is your medicine and that it is not for her/him (much like any other prescription medication). Furthermore, let him/her know that your patient status and medicine is a private matter, just like any other medical condition, and that he/she should not volunteer information about it to anyone.
- In a dual-patient-parent household, try to work out a routine with your partner where one parent is always unmedicated in case any unexpected issues arise.
- Never drive with your children in the car after medicating.
- Consider keeping notes for yourself regarding the precautions you have taken, so that you are prepared to inform CPS or the Family Court judge about them if asked.
- Note: You have no reason to inform CPS or a Family Court judge that you are a medical marijuana patient, unless directly asked about marijuana. Do not volunteer such information without cause to do so.