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How Will Legal Marijuana Change Parenting and Custody Battles

How Will Legal Marijuana Change Parenting and Custody Battles

When Colorado legalized the recreational smoking and commercial growing of marijuana for retailers, it opened up a new can of worms for custody disputes. In the past, drug use was often a topic in custody disputes and many times drug use could make or break a dispute. But if a divorcing parent smokes marijuana it shouldn’t be held against them in the custody dispute unless the drug use has lead to other things such as neglect, abuse or felonies. Although, each case is still up to the discretion of each judge and some judges might still see any drug use as reason to award custody with the parent that does not smoke marijuana.

The law to legalize marijuana for recreational use is meant to mirror alcohol use from a legal standpoint. Although many tests have been done on the human mind under the influence of marijuana and there is still a lot that is unknown. For instance, when given a breathalyzer test, we can see how much alcohol someone has in their bloodstream and through our knowledge of biology we can tell how recently they drank that alcohol. Marijuana can stay in your bloodstream for up to 30 days and at the moment there is no standardized test to determine how much marijuana you’ve had. Therefore a judge might determine that a parent must never smoke marijuana while they have custody of their children, but then how do they prove that they didn’t if the drug stays in your blood for 30 days?

In addition, just like alcohol, the amount of marijuana in a person is relative to the size of the person so a small amount in a large person might be an amount where the parent can be fully capable of handling a crisis. This is the type of thing that the courts would want to know, that the parents with custody are able to parent responsibly. With marijuana testing as limited as it is, it is too difficult to determine if someone is responsible while under the influence.


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