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Are Cannabis-Using Parents Safe Under Proposition 64 ? — Pot Valet

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Are Cannabis-Using Parents Safe Under Proposition 64 ?

icon  20 Dec, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Paul

Marijuana users were relieved when California voters passed Proposition 64 in the November 8, 2016, elections. The law legalized recreational marijuana delivery and use in the state. However, there is a growing concern that authorities will infringe the civil rights of marijuana users. Some of the risk areas include parenting, gun ownership, driving, and employment. A recent report by Brooke Edwards Staggs provides more insights on the potential effects of the new law on cannabis-using parents. Proposition 64 has a new protection for parents that restricts courts from rescinding the custodial rights of parents who use medical marijuana. Cannabis-using parents should feel safe under the new law but their experience before the passage of Proposition 64 proves otherwise.

State agencies may interfere with custodial rights because they still have the discretion to grant or deny cannabis-using parents custody of their children. The new law is a not concern to state officials because they only intervene when marijuana use leads to child neglect. The state officials require evidence that a parent under medical marijuana cannot take care of his or her child. The officials may also intervene when it is obvious that a cannabis-using parent will neglect his children. Michael Weston who is a spokesperson for the California Department of Social Services notes that the state interferes in drug cases where there is proof that drug activity or inactivity is a threat to a child’s safety.

Weston notes further that state officials investigate if a child can access the drugs and if the parent is too incapacitated to take care of the child. However, experiences from parents prove otherwise. Staggs includes the case of 31-year-old Nathaniel Rudd who is a California resident in his report. Nathaniel claims that the state denied him custodian rights of his newborn son last year. The officials denied him custody because he admitted that he was using medical marijuana. Nathaniel had been involved in a car accident and his doctor recommended medical marijuana to relieve the pain. The state officials told Nathaniel that he was cognitively incapable of raising the newborn. The social workers did not give him any chance to prove that he could take care of his child.
The social workers handling Nathaniel’s case did not have any proof of substance abuse and its potential effects on the newborn. Nathaniel offered to quit using medical marijuana despite his pain and undergo regular testing but his offer was insufficient to reverse the family court system’s decision. Nathaniel case is proof that the state can infringe the rights of California residents who buy marijuana for medical or recreational use even after voters legalized both uses. Staggs notes that the problem lies with state officials and not the new law. The attitudes of social workers who enforce the law will determine the experience of cannabis-using parents. The parents may abide by the law and even do more than required to get custody of their children. However, the cannabis-using parents are still at the mercy of the court system and child protection services.

Staggs notes further that some state officials treat cannabis like heroin instead of treating it like a prescription drug or alcohol. Hence, they recommend a child be moved from a home for any marijuana use including medical use. A co-parent fighting for custody of a child or a neighbor who needs a favor from the child protection services can exploit the prejudice. California courts may be changing their perception of medical marijuana. Staggs cites the case of a medical marijuana patient who had lost custody of his son in 2012. The Family Court overturned the decision and considered the requirements imposed on him by the court as an abuse of discretion.

The passage of Proposition 64 may not have any impact on pending custody cases. Lawyers and advocates argue that social workers consider the context of each case to make custody decisions. Cannabis-using parents have to wait for the outcome of future court cases to know how the family court system will interpret the new law. The plight of parents using recreational marijuana may be worse. Marijuana laws can change overnight, as was the case in the last election. However, the attitudes towards the drug will take a long time to change. Cannabis rights advocates should prepare for a long-term battle, especially for the rights of cannabis-using parents.

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New Hope To Those Convicted Of Cannabis Crimes

icon  11 Feb, 2016  /  icon  2        Author: Support Pot Valet

Government To Give New Hope To Those Convicted Of Crimes Involving The Cannabis Drug By Removing The Box

It is looking likely that there will be a major breakthrough if a proposed bill goes ahead as planned. In an effort to move forward with drug reform and to try to make the criminal justice system fairer for those who have been convicted of crimes involving the cannabis drug, it is expected that three senators will pass a bill in the US to effectively “ban the box” for students who are enrolling in college.


System Penalising Those Who Illegally Buy Medical Marijuana With No Other Choice

Until now, the standard form for students to complete when they are applying for standard federal student aid has carried a box that could restrict access to education for many potential students. The box is an indication as to whether or not the applicant has any previous drug convictions. It is hoped that eliminating the box will help thousands of potential students to get a good education and to get back on the right track with their lives. In the past, even those who were convicted after being forced to illegally Buy Medical Marijuana to treat their ailments had been blocked from education.


Future Looks Better For Users Of Marijuana Cannabis

The new rules have so far been referred to as the SUCCESS Act, meaning Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success. It is a follow up response after President Obama took executive action in 2015 to ban the same box on federal employment applications. It had been found that most employers would dismiss an application from an applicant who had checked the box, which meant that even those who were indeed able to carry out the job and would have been a strong candidate were missing out on the opportunity to be interviewed. Essentially, US citizens had been banned from applying for a legal job due to the box and this could leave the applicant no choice but to turn to an illegal method of raising funds.

Re-assessing the way that students complete their application forms is a move that has been welcomed by supporters of drug reform. By blocking access to education for young people, the government is doing nothing to tackle drug issues. Instead, it is by helping people into education and employment that the drug problems will be reduced as people will have better means of supporting themselves and they won’t need to turn to drugs or the drug industry to support their livelihood. Just because someone has been convicted of an offense involving marijuana cannabis, something that is now carrying less penalty in many states will no longer mean that they can’t go on to be a productive member of society.

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