March 20, 2021

Proposed Bill Would Prohibit Discrimination Against Missouri Parents for Medical Marijuana Use


Senate Bill 357, a newly proposed measure that would bar spouse and children courts from discriminating in opposition to mother and father who take part in the Missouri’s health care marijuana plan, has been a current subject of discussion for point out lawmakers. 

How Health care Marijuana Impacts Parents’ Rights in Missouri

Although the medical use of cannabis is legal in 35 states throughout the country, only ten states have provisions in location that protect health-related marijuana clients from losing custody or visitation rights owing to participation in the system: Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington. For states that really do not have protective clauses in spot, this sort of as Missouri, qualified patients’ parental rights are up in the air.

According to Zaina Afrassiab from the University of Missouri College of Regulation, “a lack of circumstance legislation relating to health care marijuana use (because of to Missouri’s very modern legalization). . . has briefly still left certified Missouri parents—parents with point out-issued professional medical marijuana licenses—in a state of limbo.”

Although situations exterior of Missouri recommend that dad and mom who are qualified people need to be in a position to go on making use of medical cannabis—as long as it is performed so in just software rules and without endangering the child—the lack of legal clarity can be daunting. Afrassiab highlighted that, “in the previous, courts have purchased marijuana-smoking mothers and fathers to post to random drug screening, participate in drug rehabilitation systems, and/or settle for restricted visitation in buy to prove parental health and fitness.” 

For several mother and father, the lack of statutory loved ones-law protections quantities to a frightening hypothetical: What if I lose custody of my child for employing health care marijuana?

Senate Monthly bill 357, Professional medical Marijuana Individuals, & Spouse and children Court docket

“I have been in family courtroom, and I’ve had my status of just becoming a cannabis activist employed towards me by an abusive ex-partner,” stated Jamie Kacz, Govt Director of NORML Kansas. “I experienced to carry the stigma with me as a result of court proceedings, and I had to take part in drug testing, just for doing exercises my Very first Amendment legal rights to reform cannabis rules in Missouri, to aid other Missourians achieve access to medication that they wanted.”

Kacz was just one of 5 folks chosen to go through testimonies in support of Senate Bill 357 previously this month. The proposed monthly bill would amend point out regulation so that “a family members court docket participant who is a competent affected person with a legitimate health-related marijuana certification shall not be in violation of the terms or conditions of the family members court docket on the basis of his or her participation in Missouri’s professional medical marijuana application.”

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Barbara Anne Washington (D-Kansas City), led the presentation in front of Missouri’s Committee for Seniors, Family members, Veterans & Military Affairs. 

“Parents are not punished for other meds,” explained Washington. “We never punish them for smoking cigarettes. We really do not punish them if they drink, until it’s extreme of training course. So if they are lawfully doing clinical marijuana, then we want to make guaranteed that those people parents are not prejudiced and prevented from reunifying with their kid.”

Paul Callicoat, a health-related marijuana patient from Joplin, expressed stress on the matter. “I find it unbelievable that in court docket, somebody could hold that towards me. It’s a constitutional proper to use healthcare marijuana,” he reported.

But committee chair Sen. Invoice White (R-Joplin) was not as receptive to the strategy, arguing that it’s the family members court’s career to recognize complications with addiction and material abuse in custody situations. He asserted that, “if you do have an alcoholic beverages difficulty, the courtroom can say ‘don’t consume it. Now I know that is a little distinct than a medical marijuana card, but a medical marijuana card is not the same as a [prescription] created under our federal method of how we produce for narcotics and other this sort of matters.”

Cynthia Northcutt—a spouse and children regulation lawyer, registered nurse, and witness in assistance of Senate Invoice 357—quickly cleared up any confusion, declaring that “cannabis is a drugs. . . There is significant, substantial high-quality, peer reviewed evidence that cannabis is effective in treating and/or handling quite a few health and fitness circumstances.”

Though there is currently no upcoming listening to scheduled for the monthly bill, the supporters guiding it are passionate. Jamie Kacz emphasised that “legal clinical marijuana sufferers should really not dwell in concern of getting rid of their small children. No individual deserves to have their loved ones torn aside, because of to their position as a lawful marijuana patient.”

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