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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
Derek June 22, 2010, 2:11 PM


You are full of shi*, and you know it.
The gateway theory has been proven to be a bunch of crap. Marijuana use DOES NOT lead to other drugs. How many people do you know that smoke a cigarette before trying other drugs? Is tobacco a gateway drug? If you actually did develop a crack problem (which I don’t believe anyway) then it’s no the pots fault. I strongly support marijuana, but I know chemical drugs (meth, coke, pain pills) are poison and don’t even deserve to be in the same category as pot.

I understand what you are saying and I agree with you to some extent. Our society is WAY over medicated (kids with “ADHA” come to mind). However, try and understand that if I dont use some kind of medication, my life feels like HEEL. I have TMJ which creates SEVERE facial pains. I feel as if I am trapped in my own body. With out pain medication, I can’t live a normal life.

I cant work.
I cant sleep.
I cant enjoy life.

So, I have 2 alternatives to the pain.

Take pain pills or smoke marijuana.

Do you understand why I choose the later?

If not I hope you will someday, because people like you are threatening my chance at any kind of a normal life.

Derek June 22, 2010, 2:14 PM

HELL :) ^

Paul June 22, 2010, 2:23 PM

“There are pain pills for pain” says it all. Anyone who would argue that it is better for someone to take an opiate based pill pain killer over the more natural, usually more effective pain killer cannabis simply has not done any research on the matter.

All of you who have tried pot and haven’t experienced the pain killing effects have most likely not used medicinal grade cannabis. There are several strains that are specifically made for pain. I have severe optical migraines from time to time. I have found no other medicine that works as well as cannabis to relieve the pain and the nausea at the same time. I also have re-curing shingles, which is extremely rare and painful. Nothing but cannabis works to completely eliminate the nerve pain and pain of the blisters when they appear.

It was irresponsible and ignorant for the judge to rule in this way unless there are other mitigating factors that were not published in this article.

There are a few reasons why cannabis is still illegal on a federal level. None of which benefit the US population. One is the cotton industry could lose a big chunk of business if Hemp were mass produced. Another is they know about the enlightening effects of cannabis. They want us drunk and stupid. That’s why they put Fluoride in our drinking water. Look that one up. It’s rat poison, lowering our IQs by 10 points or more. It is accepted by the ADA only because it is profitable.

Paul June 22, 2010, 3:31 PM

Just youtubed this story. The father seems to be a pretty terrific dad trapped in another unfortunate custody battle in this country. Just as unfortunate is the lack of respect for the truly healing qualities of an amazing weed in some courthouses.

My experience and that of the every parent that I know who smoke or eat cannabis for medicinal or spiritual reasons and benefits are much more interested in and in tune with their children.

In a society where psychiatrist are handing out extremely potent and life altering “medications” including benzodiazepines, all of the anti-depressants and “mood stabilizers” to children of all ages it makes sense to to try and find more natural and more effective ways to treat human illness in all forms.

The list of side effects of any of the major mood altering drugs approved by the FDA is considerably longer than the side effects of cannabis.

It is not for everyone to say who should or who shouldn’t follow the path that leads to their best possible health.

To take the basic rights such as to see one’s children is a judgment few could make and feel good about it at the end of the day in my humble opinion.

kc June 22, 2010, 3:44 PM

NO NO NO! No one person should have custody of their kids taken away for using medical marijuana. Unless this person is blowin smoke in the childrens face or tempting their kids to use it. There are things such as going outside and using instead of inside. There are also things such as making the thc into items that you can eat. I use to smoke and I could function better on marijuana then any prescription pill or alcohol. Some people might not want to hurt their liver by taking these pills let alone deal with some side effects of the pills. I mainly want to say anyone who says yes needs to re-evaluate the situatuion. By the way marijuana can help with pain because it brings your mind off directly thinking about pain you can have. Its also not just prescribed for that. It can be used for anxiety, sleeping, eating and other cancers.

chris June 22, 2010, 4:52 PM

Derek, I agree with you completely. If you are in real pain and your doctor prescribes it to you, then yes you should use it. As I stated before, I have two siblings who over use pills for anxiety and depression and I would much rather they used pot then the pills. I worry all the time about the damage being caused to their liver and other organs from using pills now for over 15 years. I’m NOT against anyone using it to help them medicially, actually I’m not against anyone using it for what ever reason they want to. My biggest concerns is people using any form of “medicine” that they are using only to escape the pressures of life. If people want to smoke it just for the fun of it, then do it but if you are doing it because it’s the only way you know how to unwind or deal with stress, then I think people should find a more natural way ie…diet,exercise,yoga etc. Again, I don’t think anyone should have their kids taken away unless they are in immediate danger, being abused or neglected. I hope this clears up my point of view better.

DNA June 22, 2010, 7:35 PM

Medical marijuana has its place for chronic pain related to cancers. This seems like an excuse to use whether legitimately or otherwise. Maybe Mr. Pouch should be honest and tell the TRUE reasons why he is seeing his boys only with supervision due to his past history of abusive and negligent behaviors.

Kristal June 22, 2010, 7:46 PM

I am sorry for peggy that she would rather take the word of a doctor prescribing pain pills that can potentially kill her than a little natural pain remedy like marijuana. Nick.. I wish words so perfect came out of my own mouth. That said, no, I do not believe there is any reason children should be separated from their parents when the only ‘problem’ is medical marijuana. This is just the government looking for a way to make money on court cases and promote themselves and conflict and chaos. If only they would realize that they could be making as much or more money by embracing hemp and all the benefits/ opportunities it provides and make it legal! Then we wouldn’t have this problem and people would have more faith in their government.. or at least those of us who know the truth!

Carol in Kentucky June 23, 2010, 2:40 PM

I feel sorry for his kids - that they have to deal with the shame that their dad chooses to fight for his right to smoke weed instead of growing up and having his children back home!

MJ June 24, 2010, 9:27 AM

i don’t even smoke and i know it is harmless, i never saw a pothead get into a fist fight with another pothead, yet drunk people do this all the time and it is legal, really screwed up.
it should be legal, period.

Nick Dixey June 24, 2010, 11:16 AM

Ok, I’ve read all the posts up to this point and I must say that everyone who has made a post here is forgetting one very crucial and important fact, we live in a FREE COUNTRY! What does that mean though, does it mean I can do WHATEVER I like? Not really. I can’t break into someones house and steal their possessions, it’s illegal. Murdering another person is also illegal. So what does it mean to live in a free country? It means you have the freedom, the right, the god given privilege to choose and to make decisions that pertain to you and only to you. If you want to spend all day watching tv, then ok, if I want to stand outside and try and talk to the birds, the bees, the trees, or the sky, so be it. No one is going to tell me that I can’t do that. But, and here’s the greatest part, I don’t have the authority to tell someone else that they can’t do that either, regardless of what I may think of their decisions! We are free to do what makes us happy without fear of being told that we can’t do it. People like Peggy, Chris, Carol in KY, and anyone else who has the balls to assume that they know best for anyone else, has forgotten that as free citizens we have the ability to make our own choices, for the good, and for the bad. When a government starts telling you what you can and can’t do for your own happiness, in this case by outlawing cannabis, then what’s next? Should we make masturbation illegal because it’s not morally righteous? Or books that contain taboo subjects, should we start burning them to keep them out of the hands of babes? I hear a lot of the same argument as well, “The safety of our children”, or “We need to protect our children”. Who is raising these children? As a parent myself, I know that there are dangers in this world that I want to safeguard my boys against, but I’m not blaming the world for what my children might or might not get involved in. I’ve taught my boys to look both ways before crossing a street, they learned from what I’ve taught them and now I don’t have to worry that they are going to get hit by a car when crossing the street, or at least not through their own irresponsibility. But, having said that, does that mean that they are absolutely safe when trying to get to the other side of the road? Of course not, there are no absolutes in life. It does mean however, that I have set them up the best I can, as a parent, for success. That is all we really can do as parents, educate our kids to make the right choices. If we leave the education of our children to the government alone, then you’re just asking for problems. The government is a force that loves followers, but more importantly it loves gullible followers, because they don’t ask questions, they don’t do any research as to why things are or are not a certain way. They just believe what they are told and reinforce those ideas by maintaining the ignorance that the government hopes for. I know that there are addicts out there, people who find that one or more substances make them feel good but what drives that person to these options? They aren’t happy. People who aren’t happy and seek relief already have a problem. Once a person substitutes chemicals for true happiness in their life, you have a person who will become dependent on those chemicals. The chemicals aren’t to blame, it’s the underlying problems that cause addiction, and anyone who deals with addicts will tell you the exact same thing. So stop saying it’s the drugs fault. I do enjoy a good stiff drink from time to time, I also smoke a little hemp now and again. I’m not an alcoholic, nor am I a drug addict. But, I won’t lie to my kids about it. If I’m out on my back porch with my wife and friends and we are sharing some cannabis and my boys ask about it, I’m not going to make it seem like I’m doing something wrong. I simply explain what it is to them, and that it isn’t for children, period. If you make it seem like a forbidden fruit, curiosity may make them take a bite. Honest education is the key to the future of our nation, not outlandish speculation.

MJ June 24, 2010, 5:38 PM

nick, very well said!

Carol in Kentucky June 26, 2010, 8:06 PM

Narcotics and good parenting are not compatible. Smoking 4 times a day, every single day leaves room for stupid and careless decision making. It’s obvious that there is more to the story. Who knows what this dad did to have to get supervised visits. Of course he’s going to play the part of a victim. What if he has left his children at drug houses, or brought them to along on drug deals, perhaps the children were getting into his drugs, or maybe his kids where there when his house was raided. This is not normal for children to go through. GOOD FOR THE MOM for saying enough was enough an seeking the help of the court to make sure the kids are safe. At least the dad is still allowed contact with them in a setting where they are not being endangered. He sounds like an absolute loser anyways, as it’s obvious that his fight is for marijuana and not his children.

Anonymous June 26, 2010, 8:11 PM

I find some of the comments here ridiculous… yes there are people that smoke it to get high but that doesn’t mean that it won’t help with pain. I suffer from really bad migraine headaches, no medication ever worked because of the side effects. The last one they gave me was not covered by my insurance and it was $1,000 for 30 pills. I found out that Marijuana helps some people with their migraine headaches so I tried it and the relief was immediate. So which one do you think I use? By the way I am a working mother of two and now I don’t suffer of the horrible side effects from the medication that used to put me out of work sometimes for days and my mother to take care of my kids.

Parlemort June 27, 2010, 8:53 PM

I have nothing against legalizing marijuana. I do, however, consider parents who are under the influence of any impairing drug while caring for their children to be criminals. Stoned or drunk, a parent is not ready to react at a moment’s notice to emergencies. Stoned or drunk, a parent provides lax care to their children. It should be illegal for a solitary adult to care for children while under the influence. If more than one adult is providing care to the children then I would not object to one person being under the influence as long as the other one is completely sober. Also, there should be no smoking whatsoever in a house where children live, marijuana or tobacco. Good day.

Cara Leigh June 29, 2010, 4:29 AM

There are WAY more marijuana smokers out there than you think- probably some of your neighbors, family and friends.

I was surprised at all of the people I have found out who smoke- some are in their 40’s or 50’s.

All are hard workers who have been at their professions for years. They are great parents.

I just went to a high school graduation, and most of the “pot-heads” kids were top students, receiving awards and such.

I would MUCH, MUCH rather leave my kids with a “stoner” than a drunk.

I have never known a stoner to get into fights, beat their kids, or kill someone while driving.

Legalize the weed, get rid of the alcohol!

Cara Leigh June 29, 2010, 4:54 AM

Forgot to add we have had 2 deaths here (in the boonies) due to overdose on pills.

One was illegal (not prescribed to them)pills, the other one I believe was perscribed to the person but they mixed them with alcohol. 2 deaths!

There have also been several DWI deaths, and at least one child brutally killed by a drunk parent.

I also personally know two people that are zoned out on prescription drugs….one Mom did lose her kids to the dad, the other had enough help around that the kids were ok….sort of.

Who wants a mom that sleeps all day?

Judging from the marijuana users I know, they DO NOT sit around zoned out all the time.

I know several “straight” people that do nothing all day but play video games and watch TV because they have back problems or some other ailment.

Perhaps they should light up?

Larry H. June 29, 2010, 7:41 AM

I don’t see how marijuana can be used to treat pain, but I don’t think he should lose custody if it is legally prescribed. Some people abuse their legally prescribed Loritabs, Xanax, muscle relaxers, and other drugs without losing custody of their children. I think if a parent is not breaking the law and not abusing/neglecting their kids then they should be able to keep them.

sj June 29, 2010, 9:35 AM

I think marijuana is a lot better than alcohol. Ive seen people become completely stupid and violent while intoxicated. The most ive seen from a person who smokes pot is that they are calmer, more patient, and yes eat more! Get over it no parent should lose their rights over smoking marijuana. If you wanna get real technical why dont you just drug test every parent and you would see that a lot of them are doing way worse drugs. The sad thing is we could see a meth addict go into the welfare office and get cash for their 5 children but nobody investigates that. Pot is completely harmless and im sure if somebody has been a parent for 13 years they know right from wrong when it comes to their own children. A good parent is not going to smoke around their child, come on really use some common since, the story said nothing like that! You cant take somebodies pride and joy away for dealing with a medical issue in a professional matter. I mean these dads could just be smoking pot illegally but atleast they had the initiative to go to a doctor to get permission to smoke it! I think that is a pretty responsible thing to do!

Parlemort June 30, 2010, 9:05 AM

@ Cara: If you are willing to leave your children in the care of a stoned stoner then you are a poor parent. Good day.

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