Can Medical Marijuana Use Impact Child Custody?

Posted on February 27th, 2020

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf legalized medical marijuana on April 6, 2016. On February 15, 2018, medical marijuana was available for patients at dispensaries across the commonwealth. But with marijuana still not legal on a federal level, what does this mean for child custody cases?

Under Pennsylvania Health and Safety Statute §10231.2013, the fact that an individual is certified to use medical marijuana shall not by itself be considered by a court in a custody proceeding. Instead, the court will follow the conditions for child custody, unless a sign of drug abuse is evident. 

There are common factors a judge will use to determine child custody, such as:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse in the home of either parent.
  • The ability of each parent to meet the physical as well as emotional needs of the children.
  • Duties each parent regularly performs for the children.
  • The ability to meet the needs of a child for family life, community life, as well as a child’s education.

In Pennsylvania, the courts can set up requirements for parents to enjoy custodial rights such as drug testing prior to visits if there is a known drug abuse problem. However, it will not prohibit visitation by the non-custodial parent unless there are safety issues related to drug abuse.

Medical Marijuana as a Prescription Drug

The key take-away in medical marijuana cases when it comes to child custody is how the drug is used. Like prescription drugs, medical marijuana can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. But that doesn’t make the drug illegal. It just means the patient needs to exercise caution while using it. 

So long as the individual using medicinal marijuana is using it in accordance with their prescription, there is no illegal wrongdoing or reason it should impact a custody decision. The only reason it may become problematic is, like in alcohol abuse or narcotics abuse, the parent using medicinal marijuana incurs adverse parenting styles while using the drug. 

Medical Marijuana: Know Your Rights

When it comes to your child custody rights and the use of medicinal marijuana, you should not fear court decisions. If you believe you have been inadequately represented in family court because of your prescription usage, contact Kalinoski Law Offices now.

Let the Scranton Lifetime Lawyers at Kalinoski Law Offices P.C. help you.

Our Scranton family law attorney is available to provide you legal representation and guidance on protecting your family. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

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Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

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