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Medical marijuana leads to distressing child custody matter

States continue to grapple with the issue of legalizing marijuana, and the debate is likely to go on for many more years. In the meantime, there are some states that have passed legislation that allows for the use of medical marijuana with a valid prescription. When neighboring states do not permit that activity, legal trouble can result. Such is the case in an unusual child custody matter that has ties to Colorado.

A father of five, and a United States Gulf War veteran, holds a valid prescription for medical marijuana in the state of Colorado. He and his family reside, however, in a neighboring state where use of the drug has not been legalized. The man asserts that the drug has helped him conquer chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Because medical marijuana has been so beneficial in his own life, he and his wife plan to move to Colorado and start a grow operation to help other veterans and their families.

The couple left their five children in the care of a relative while they drove to Colorado to set up their move. After they left, one of their relatives took the five kids to a local police station and claimed that the parents had abandoned the children. Child Protective Services became involved, which led to the removal of all five children from the home. As of the time of this report, the family has been separated since April of last year, and the father claims that in that time he has only been able to visit his kids three times.

Because the case is still open, there are very few details available about why the state choose to remove the children from their parents' care. A statement was released to assert that CPS does not remove children from their home based solely on a parent's use of marijuana. It remains unclear why these children are being kept in the custody of the state, but the child custody matter is far from over, as the parents, who now live in Colorado, have pledged to take his case all the way up to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

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

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