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Can recreational marijuana be used against me in a child custody case?

The legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts has left some questions regarding parental rights in child custody cases. Like alcohol, marijuana can be used by adults 21 and older without legal repercussions for safe use on private property.

According to subsection (4)(d) of Massachusetts General Laws, unless the child is placed in unreasonable danger, parental rights can’t be changed solely based on the use or possession of marijuana. While Massachusetts laws prohibit marijuana use as a reason to change a child custody arrangement, it can still factor into custody proceedings.

Family courts consider many different factors when determining custody. As with any child custody case, decisions must always reflect the child’s best interests. Therefore, any substance abuse can still lead to the loss of certain parenting privileges.

In the event a court or other parent has reason to believe the use of marijuana is negatively affecting a parent’s ability to care for a child, custody may be limited or even terminated. This can include improperly storing marijuana enabling a child to access the substance.

The intersection of legal marijuana use and custody proceedings can be complex. While there are laws prohibiting courts from denying custody solely based on the use or possession of marijuana, there is no guarantee of custody. Contact our law office today to discuss your specific case.

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