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Should Medical Marijuana Users Lose Custody of Kids?

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A story from the AP today -- "Medical Pot Can Cost Parents in Custody Disputes" -- caught our attention.

medical marijuana

It featured Washington state dad Nicholas Pouch, who lost custody of his kids, ages 9 and 11, because he's a medical marijuana patient. His kids aren't allowed to set foot on his farm. He only sees his boys twice a month, during supervised visits at a neutral house in Olympia, Washington.

Pouch said that he uses medical marijuana to treat pain from carpal tunnel syndrome and a shoulder injury.

Julian Robinson, another dad featured in the piece, feels Pouch's pain. A judge ordered him to keep at least a quarter of a mile away from his stepchildren because of his medical marijuana use -- even though the kids live under his roof and he has raised them for the past 13 years. Now he's forced to live elsewhere.

"It has torn my family apart," Robinson said. "We used to do everything together."

Do you think that medical marijuana patients should lose custody?

143 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dave June 21, 2010, 9:10 PM

Peggy Brister, you are just not a very sharp person, so I’ll go easy on you. What makes you think pills, especially pain pills are better for you than cannabis. Are you aware that most pain pills are synthetic heroin? Do you feel that just beacuse a dr went to school for several years he’s qualified to distribute drugs? Pop another xanny bar and retreat to your lala land, where thoughts like your comments will be tolerated.

Arisma June 21, 2010, 9:53 PM

@Lynn Hey, guess what? You’re not everyone! Your ignorance and self assured idiocy is repugnant. Educate yourself.

momma of 5  June 21, 2010, 10:21 PM

Very funny that I found this article because it is one of the reasons I have not obtained a medical marijuana license. Me and my husband have a “blended” family. We both have full custody because the other parents of our children have serious alcohol addictions, to the point where it is a priority over their children! My husband and I are very loving parents and are very responsible, we never fight, nor beat eachother nor disrespect eachother. We are a good example of 2 loving parents! And well yes there are nights that we are overwhelmed and we smoke a little pot to relax! Or the fact that we both have back injuries, it helps! My husband had a bad injury and involuntarily became dependent on the pain killers he was being prescribed. I say involuntarily, yes, do your research it is very highly common! Anyhow I weaned him off with cannibus and now he deals with his pain but if the kids are in bed he will smoke and feel immense relief. So should he go back to the pain killers than? NO!

Why aren’t we licensed? Because I wouldn’t want some old-fashioned judge telling me that my children are better off with their other parent!

So the question is….if this man was being a good father and he was smoking LEGAL medical marijuana for his pain of carpel tunnel syndrome, should he have his children taken away? NO

If there is more to the story, and he was being irresponsible or destructive with his children than YES!

But being ignorant and trying to state that marijuana does not ease or kill pain…that is pure ignorance! There is reason it is slowly but surely becoming legal.

Derek June 22, 2010, 2:47 AM

All you folks out there who are saying “use pain pills for pain” need to meet my father. He was a great dad until he had a terrible back injury and became a pill popper. His addiction to pain pills has destroyed our family.

He doesn’t work. He is aggressive during withdrawals. No one likes him anymore and he is severely depressed.
Its very very sad to watch :(

That my friends, is why when I developed TMJ and started getting incredibly intense facial pains, I turned to medical marijuana.
I’m successful and happy pot smoker; my dad is a depressed junkie.

Mrs June 22, 2010, 4:01 AM

I think this is a bunch of bull. I don’t agree with people who smoke just because, but PEGGY, I have also used marijuana in the past, probably sooner than you, and it DOES help with pain. That is exactly why one of the conditions you can receive it for is PAIN. It helps a lot of people. Maybe it didn’t work for you, just like pills don’t help some people, or makes them sick so they wish to take an alternative. Pills are so much worse for you with all the dangerous side effects and how addicting they are. You drink just to drink, and alcohol is so bad for you. There are no studies that hold marijuana to a cause of death, overdose, cancer, liver disease or any medical issue. There would be, by far, less deaths and other issues if marijuana was legal and alcohol was not. I definitely don’t agree with the father smoking in the same room as his children, but keeping his kids away from their father is beyond outrageous, and upsets me greatly.

C June 22, 2010, 4:49 AM

Absolutely absurd posts. Contact high is a myth. Indica works for pain, Sativa does not. My father was an abusive drunk and my mother was jacked up on legal diet pills and illegal pain pills. The day they started smoking pot everything started to change. within a year my dad didn’t drink and my mom checked into rehab. They both continued to smoke pot and they became the most loving and attentive parents you could imagine, not only that, they became fun for us to be around and we didn’t run off to friends houses 24/7 anymore, home had become a place we enjoyed.

I know pot wont do what it did to my family, and we are the minority in such cases, but its true. On the other hand, i refuse to believe that with the prescription abuse and alcoholics on our roads like they are, i would prefer a stoned dad. Again, there has to be something to this story we don’t know. he was obviously in a custody battle of some sort or had gotten into trouble with CPS (or whatever initialism WA uses)and in the end they used this as a means to an end.

Katie June 22, 2010, 4:52 AM

Marijuana should be something people have to “get away with” anyway.. thats just a b.s. attitude imposed by the government on citizens who don’t like to think on their own to develop their own opinion. Alcohol is legal and good, marijuana bad. That makes sense to you “yay sayers!?” Pharmaceutical companies are just out to make money, they do not have the patients’ best interest in mind.. people should be free to choose their treatment. Free country my arse

* June 22, 2010, 4:56 AM

Correction - Marijuana *shouldn’t be something people have to “get away with” lol

Anonymous June 22, 2010, 6:01 AM

Peggy is dead on!!

I started by smoking pot and wound up addicted to crack. I too made any excuse from pain to the myth that pot is not addictive to smoke. It’s all lies.

medcannabis1 June 22, 2010, 6:14 AM

If a person has a choice between cannabis or a narcotic’s such as Loratab which is commonly prescribed and damages the liver when used over long periods of time, why would you punish someone for finding a better way to treat the pain?
I founded Montana Pain Management an alternative pain management system that provides an alternative to narcotics and the myriad of prescription drugs that cannabis can replace safely.
To say that a person who uses cannabis cannot be by their children is just another example of the old guard still flexing their political views on the majority of people.
Addictive personalities are just that , addictive personalities and they will always be that way. To say that cannabis has no medical value other than to treat cancer is ridiculous and uninformed.
Take the time to do the research and use accredited studies and see how there is a choice now and cannabis is the better one than narcotics.
Thank you
Rick Rosio
Montana Pain Management
Missoula, Mt.

Dan June 22, 2010, 6:26 AM

So Peggy and Chris think it should be ok to destroy this man’s life, even though its something they admit to trying for years.

Remember, even though you weren’t in pain when you tried it, someone in pain can still use it to relieve pain symptoms.

They sound like someone who took chodene pills for years to get high; and looking back on it now say “I got high off that, it can’t be used for medication.”

People are ridiculous.

chris June 22, 2010, 6:58 AM

I don’t think that these men deserve to lose their children. My point being is that too many doctors prescribe all kinds of medicine for many reasons that should be handled differently. I grew up with an alcoholic father so I know how bad that is to deal with it in a family but I would of never wanted my father taken away. Two of my siblings take anti-anxiety and anti-depression medicine and I’ve seen both of them at times too out of it to fully take care of their kids. All I’m saying is that as a society, too many people are looking to something (pills, pot, alcohol etc) to either numb them or to deal w/ life and I find it sad to live like that. Life is wonderful and at times too short to live it in a haze of anything.

KA June 22, 2010, 7:15 AM

As someone who knows Nick, I can tell you there isn’t “more to the story”. Nick is a naturalist and runs an organic farm and co-op. He believes in treating his pain naturally, as well as nurishing his body naturally. I know many people that claim to be the same, and yet will run to the Dr. To get a prescription to fix a problem rather than seek out a natural solution. Personally, I’d rather use something where the possible side effects don’t take up more of the label than the ingredients and directions combined! Nick is a loving dad that deserves to be with his kids, end of subject. His ex is simply using this to gain the upper hand and hit Nick where it hurts the most, preventing him from seeing his kids.

Pamala June 22, 2010, 7:50 AM

I think here the problem lies in how easily obtained these licenses are. And frankly even if someone was using it for medical purposes I’d not want my child around it. Now to be fair I don’t think alcohol should be legal either. I’ve been through the worst of both, seen the bad side of both of those drugs, and would never wish that on anyone.

LDude June 22, 2010, 8:14 AM

Cannabis use is no reason for the state to deny this man custody of his children, especially since he was not doing anything illegal.
You prohibitionist morons should know that Cannabis can be eaten ,so drop the “smoking pot in front of the kids” B.S. it ain’t working.Cannabis butter can be put in capsules and consumed without anyone being the wiser, and the effects last much longer. I use MedMJ for pain relief ,what it does for me is it helps me relax ,that eases the tension that I live with because of a bad back, more relaxation= less pain. Do you really think I would be better off taking hydocodone ?

nancy shackelford June 22, 2010, 8:16 AM

Ok, Peggy, you are out there. Chris, I can kind of understand your point about how people are getting prescriptions for every little thing and always looking for something to fix every boo-boo in life. I think we as a society have way to many things thrown at us in the form of advertisement. You can’t even turn on a tv show without hearing at least 3 or 4 commercials about some kind of medication. With that said I want to say that I do NOT think this dad should have had his children taken away. He obtained marijuana legally and I think that if he is doing this legally then he should have no issues. I don’t think he is blazing up in front of his kids. At least I hope not. I think marijuana should be legal not illegal. In Canada, pot is not “legal” but it is decriminalized. If you try to cross the border and you have a DUI on your record, chances are you are not getting accross. However, if you have a marijuana charge, they will let you cross. Why is this? Because Canada believes that alcohol is worse than marijuana. I completly agree with this. I would definatly let my kids be around a bunch of stoners rather than a bunch of drunks! I smoke pot on occasion, never in front of my kids, and usually when they are gone or asleep. I am a good mother. My kids are happy, healthy, and productive. My kids are never neglected. I do know that some people think that parents that smoke pot are irresponsible and yes there are probablly a few irresponsible parents out there, but irresponsibility does not come from smoking pot. It comes from the individual themselves. Pill popping is 1000 times worse than smoking a joint. Pills are addicitve, and they are senthetically made. Marijuana grows from the ground. It is an excellent source for some people for relaxation. If my husband comes home from a long day at work, I would rather see him smoke one than pop open a beer. I also have to agree with another blogger on here who’s name slips my mind at this moment, we should make it legal and we should be taxing it and using the money for something good. Oh and Peggy…George Washington smoked marijuana on a regular basis. In fact it was a great cash crop during his time. Get off your high horse and do some research. Marijuana has many other uses too besides just smoking it. How about the use for making some of the strongest rope you can have. Or how you can make it into material that you can use for clothes. It is a very resourceful plant. Lets get over the stupidity people. Outlaw alcohol and legalize marijuana!!!!!

Keisha June 22, 2010, 8:18 AM

So it’s ok for someone to take legal pain killers but not ok for them to smoke legal marijuana? They do not prescribe enough for a person to get high, they prescribe it like pain pills and patients are monitored carefully. Do I think they should lose their kids? Of course not but I do think the parents have to make certain they are not inside the house or around their children when smoking it.

Once a month the kids should have to meet with a therapist. If the parents have insurance to cover the medicinal marijuana they would have insurance to cover therapy. I know it doesn’t always show in urine for contact high, I think if they were around it every day of the month it certainly would. You’d need pop in visits at their home to make sure they aren’t exposed or walking around high.

I believe people are far too quick to think that these folks are getting stoned for no reason and yanking their kids out of the home. If they are in a loving environment with caring parents and the kids are thriving they should be able to stay with their parents.

Worry about the parents that drink 1/2 a case to a case of beer a night and ones whose skin smells of the liquor because of the vast amounts they drink. Worry about the ones that have hypodermic needle tracks up their arms, sunken eyes and can’t walk a straight line. Worry less about the ones who smoke small amounts of prescribed marijuana, say “dude” more, laugh more and have a better appetite. That does not determine their parenting skills.

Dave June 22, 2010, 8:29 AM

You got addicted to crack because you cannot control yourself…should fastfood be against the law because most of America is overweight? Or maybe ban firearms because guns kill people right? It’s people like Peggy and Chris who are the sheep in this world and follow because everyone else is, but that’s ok…I’m your shepard, I’ll show you the way.

Proud American June 22, 2010, 8:36 AM

People who disagree with medical marijuana is worse the devil himself! We have pain pills for pain, yeah, pills made with 1000’s of chemicals that half the nation can’t even pronounce! Don’t tell me that marijuana users should lose their kids because that is total crap! Pain pills for pain, who the hell is that guy? If you don’t want to use it then don’t use it. Go take your dangerous addictive pain pills. Enough with these lies, marijuana is dangerous and it doesn’t help. People say it works, it works. Go drink your alcohol and smoke your cancer sticks, I’ll be happy with my bowl filled with natural green herb made by God! That helps pain and helps me get though daily life.

Jennifer Barkow June 22, 2010, 12:19 PM

i would be more worried about people on heavy prescription drugs, and even addicted to pills. why dont we handle the problems we have before making new problems. we have children living with drug addicts, i grew up with 2 drug addicts, police come to the house, they do nothing, wish they smoked pot then maybe they would have done something. pot is nothing compared to what others are on, be realistic and go with the facts, also we better fly to paraguay and take all their kids too, they smoke it their like ciggerettes, oh and canada and legal use and the list goes on and on

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