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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
Nick Dixey July 3, 2010, 12:01 AM

Ok so it seems Parlemort, who won’t even put there real name down (my name is Nick Dixey, I live in CT, for those wondering) has an opinion, and that’s awesome!! Now I don’t agree with it, but like I said before, that’s the magic of a free country. I fought in the military for six years to protect that right, but what about the right to life liberty and the persuit of happiness? For anyone to tell anyone else what’s best for them is pretty much what slavery was, wasn’t it? Tend my fields or I’ll beat you, take my sexual rage or I’ll deny you food, don’t be a stoner or I’ll take away your kids, because I said so! I think Parlemort wants to kill “negros” and potheads, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them, or at least that’s the impression I get from such uneducated nonsense. I call it nonsense because I read everyday about how new discoveries with cannabis are really making morons out of our governments health and justice systems and all those like Parlemort who believe hemp will make you stupid. I just read today how an international team of researchers from Germany, Switzerland, and Mexico have found that the compounds in cannabis actively stimulate new neural cell growth. The link to thier findings is here—- —- So to answer your question Parlemort, seeing as how the majority of babysitters are high school aged teens, a stoner who’s getting smarter over a party drunk, yeah I’m taking the stoner any day of the week.

emma  July 3, 2010, 9:49 AM

He should not lose custody of his kids unless he’s smoking it all day long. There’s a huge difference between smoking a little bit of pot after the kids go to bed to unwind compared to smoking it all through out the day. I grew up in a state where it seemed everyone you met smoked pot would hang out with mothers smoking pot and you know what they were not attentive to there kids and I do not mean you momma of 5. I personally smoked a little pot here and there until I was 25 then I quit and never touched it again I quit because my ex husband smoked it all day long and neglected the family he spent almost all his earnings on pot etc. yes that’s how much he smoked. Anyway I basically knew in the state I use to live in this was the only advantage point I had of getting full legal custody of my kids and if I were ever court order to get a drug test and it came up positive my kids would go into the foster care system and I wasn’t taking that chance. The court still ordered visitation to my ex 1 night per week unsupervised all I did was worry the whole time they were gone I knew my oldest who was 5 at the start of this would come home tell me how daddy slept the whole time and how she had to feed the little ones I would send food with them because He never had any The court knew this info. I would make him get several drug tests he would come up positive and the kids could then only see him during supervised visits which I supervised and usually he would just come over and fall asleep on the couch. Then he would go to court get a negative result and the kids had to go back to staying overnight. This senerio(sp) happened several times. This finally ended when my oldest was 10 which was 2005 I ordered a drug test and he never bothered to take it or prove he got clean again. I am almost positive that he never really got clean but would use the stuff you can buy to clean marijuana out of your system either way it doesn’t matter. I had to give my ex a 3 month warning I was moving to another state and miraculously he started paying attention when he came over for his visits he did stay consistant with that. My ex is not an evil or bad guy he was and still is so addicted to pot that he can’t function without it. Maybe one day he can get off of it and have a relationship with his children they well be adults then and well make their own decision about that. I honestly believe the only way he’ll do that is through God. He’s been to treatment centers they did not work.

Diana July 6, 2010, 2:00 AM

When I was young I smoked pot and can state it does not help with pain as I have had tremendouse back pain and EARLY arthritis and corporal tunnel at an early age.All pot does is make you feel good,it does kill your brain cells especially short term memory,and sometimes you can do things you regret as it also kills your inhibitons.I personally know a long time pot smoker and he is easy going but he is also dumb funny enough before he was into all that he was on his way to a doctorate to be a doctor…down the drain he cant even remember where he put his shoes.he makes no sense at all at times. hes 60 now.There are too many news storys where parents who are given a medical excuse think its funny to light up the bong for there kids after smoking themselves and let them take a puff to watch them and laugh at them.The society seems to be going to a medicated one.zyprexa for depression or other meds to help people cope with life.Pot may not be dangerouse to do but should be illegal as many people on pot often to stuped things.Now should the people who are given a MEDICAL excuse have there children taken away….no they should not but american citizens should start writing to there goverment and voting to stop things of this nature from occuring.There were polls and votes and I guess these polls were in favor for pot to be legalized in a sense I believe the legal limit is 1.5 grams.Also reading other postings on here why are you bashing others?THIS IS AMERICA AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH PREVAILS!Also its not peggys gonna care people should be posting about the topic and not hating on others.The topic was should medical pot users lose there children and I state again no they should not as they were given a medical excuse and legal one at that,now if they do something stuped like light up the bong for the kids and smoke around them giving them a contact high then yes they should as they broke the law but this article does not state they did such things.And I personally believe pot should not be legalized for personal home consumption as too many news storys of people using medical pot are negative in the fact of what they expose to there children.Now i am going off topic but medications to treat variose mental illnesses do they really help?I do not think so as many news storys state that they do not columbine prime example those kids were on meds when they commited those crimes to treat mental illness.Also have you listened to a commmercial for a depression med lately?basically stating the med will kill you but the benefits far outway the negative…May cause suicide,medical problems,and death yet there still in use I recently read a story of a 12 year old commiting suicide who was on depression meds so much for helping her and may that little angel rest in peace.Society needs to wake up and stop being so dependant on medications of this nature.and in legalizing pot what is next,herione,meth, opium,crack, the list goes on.People need to stop looking for quick fixes and start looking for surgerys that can cure them in there pain.

Allison July 11, 2010, 8:08 PM

I myself am a medMJ patient and so is my husband. The reason is not important, I do not need to have my medical need validated. My husband and I just had a huge discussion. We are both dying to have children, and running our of time as we are both older, but because of people like the un-informed commentators, and the unjust judiciary system, we have decided that it would not be appropriate to have children, for fear of them being unjustly removed from us. We are both upper class,college educated, own our own very successful businesses and EACH pull in 6 figure income. We own a very large home, near a beautiful park, with empty rooms that I was hoping to fill with children, and it is breaking my heart. I was a former nanny, behavior therapist for children with autism, and my husband helped raised his sister who is 11 years younger than he is. Needless to say, I think we would be more than equipped to properly care for a child, emotionally, physically and otherwise. I spent the last hour bawling and googling the legalities of having children with parents who are legal card holders when I came upon this blog. The only stories I have found have been filled with heartache.

I don’t understand why parents are losing right to their children based on something they do in their own time, and not on their actions. If the father was getting high and neglecting his kids, that would be one thing, but using LEGAL medical marijuana so that he can work through his pain and be able to provide for his family? I think not!

Because of the “way things are” with our legal system, I cannot have children, for fear of losing them no matter how well I parent them. I walk around the park every day and cry because I know I may never be able to take a child of my own the park.This is just completely unfair. Parents (and any person) should be judged on their actions. I would rightly argue that many mothers are hooked on mind altering drugs (anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics) and many parents hooked on other prescription pills who face a much higher chance of addiction, and negative health consequences and who will never have their kids taken away from them, while my husband and I can only sit by and hope that things change so that we have the chance to be parents.

Allison July 11, 2010, 8:13 PM

PS- As far as the “gateway theory” I have never even tried, nor have any desire to try any other drug, prescription or illegal. I currently do not take a single prescription drug, as even birth control has been linked to negative health defects and each one gave me terrible side effects, and the long term effects of most drugs is unknown. People can make their own decisions to try other drugs. There is nothing inherently about marijuana that “forces” you to try other drugs.

Anonymous July 11, 2010, 8:25 PM

“and I personally believe pot should not be legalized for personal home consumption as too many news storys of people using medical pot are negative in the fact of what they expose to there children.”

Sorry, had to quote on this. What stories are you reading? The news only puts out there what people want to see. You are not going to see stories on the poor parenting of a parent on prescription drugs? Why? Because billions of parents are on prescription drugs, and do not want to hear about it.

Marijuana is much safer than alcohol. Canada has it right. Yet, it is socially ok for parents to drink in front of their children, regularly! I have been at a rooftop hotel bar at happy hour and watched a mom drag her 3 children into the bar while she has a few drinks!!! And no one said a word! How is this any different?

Anon July 13, 2010, 7:35 AM

This may be the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. I grew up with an alcoholic father and I’d take a Dad who was stoned in a heartbeat. Alcohol will kill you. Marijuana won’t. This country is so screwed up. I also have a friend who has cancer and she smokes every day to alleviate the nausea and to give her an appetite. You people who are so uninformed need to get down off your soap-box and live in the real world. Marijuana is here to stay and your small-minded attitude is what causes all the problem. Legalization is the only answer to this. Marijuana is 100% natural. Much better that than alcohol or presciption meds that your children are stealing from you so they can get high.

Sam A Sapienza July 24, 2010, 11:35 AM

How absurd, there were children born and brought to Woodstock. I wonder how many of them became attorneys and how many had strangers take them away? What are those strangers going to do with the children after they take them away any way, shuffle them around in foster care until they are abused, molested, raped or enslaved? Furthermore why do you have to be dying to be prescribed smoking a weed. And foremost what makes you the authority to decide who should be prescribed for what. Yea, sure it’s better to take Vicodin and Oxycodone, or Moriphine Sulfate for pain than pot. Why don’t you throw a couple of shots of Jack Daniel’s in there while your at it. (Sarcasm) for you idiots who can’t figure it out. What a bunch of morons and they say pot makes you moronic. I see a lot of pensive pent up pain killer poppers and alcoholics once again blaming all their addiction problems on pot smokers. As we used to say in the 60’s and 70’s, what a bunch of cop outs.

Sam A Sapienza July 24, 2010, 11:40 AM

I have come to the conclusion that anti pot people are all a bunch of depressants.

Sam A Sapienza July 24, 2010, 11:54 AM

For those of you coming out of the 60 and 70’s remember what us so called pot heads called them? Downer freaks, addicts!!!

ALLISON August 9, 2010, 2:11 PM


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itsok October 3, 2010, 1:17 AM

Some people would rather smoke pot for a hurt knee than take over the counter pills like advil.which will kill your liver. Pot won’t. How can people be ok with drinking parents. If someone seen a parent drink two beers would they say their kids should be taken away? No. so what’s a couple puffs. Everything can be abused and eating a whole tray of pot brownies then watching your kids isn’t a good idea. But that’s not what’s going on here. I know from experience that pot is not something that’s completely makes you do things like alcohol does. People just talk bad about weed because they don’t know anything.

Truth November 1, 2010, 11:22 AM

People need to control people… People love to fix the problems of others and never Judge them selfs. Modern Slavery … I was in a car accident 91 fwy Cali going 80 Mph into a center divider, a drunk driver pulled into my lane. I was addicted to almost every (pill) pain killer you can think of. Now I just smoke pot and instead of bed ridden Im going to school full time and in about 2 years be achieving my B.A. in (Project Management) and yes every second of my life I am high, but its better then not doing anything.

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If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.

michael nolte December 10, 2010, 12:16 PM

I am a legal patient myself who suffers from chronic back pain. Marijuana doesn’t stop all the pain, you are right, but it does help. It takes the edge off and helps me relax. Have you ever been in serious pain and taken a pain pill??? You are still in pain, the pain just isn’t as bad. Pain pills are addictive and dangerous and cause a loss in appetite. Nobody should lose their kids over pot… legal or not. It’s just not dangerous.

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