Marijuana and Child Custody in Arizona
On November 3rd, 2020, Arizona approved Proposition 207, thereby legalizing the use of recreational marijuana within the state. This had led many concerned parents to wonder about the impact the new legislation would have on their child custody case.
While the new law does not expressly refer to parents and child custody, it will likely have some implications when it goes into effect. This article would shed light on the possible impact marijuana legalization will have on Arizona child custody cases and what parents can expect in the family courts.
Marijuana Usage Will Be Treated Like Alcohol Consumption
There’s every tendency that marijuana usage would get the same treatment alcohol consumption gets in family courts. This means that an occasional user should not be overly concerned about being negatively affected in a custody case.
However, keep in mind that judges, experts, and opposing counsel would go through your usage with a fine-tooth comb to uncover if there’s any abuse. Moderation is essential, as abuse impacts the parent’s ability to responsibly take care of the child, and the court would restrict the person’s parenting.
Responsible Consumption Would Be a Positive and Not a Negative
As mentioned above, consuming marijuana responsibly is key to painting a parent in a positive light before the court. Despite the preceding, it is best to tread carefully and keep the history of your marijuana usage out of the proceedings as much as possible.
Remember that in the past, any sign of marijuana usage takes the child away from the erring parent, and some judges might still be inclined to lean that way. Legalizing the drug does not mean some rules like not using it around a child would be lax, so consume responsibly.
Consuming Marijuana Will be Subject to Some Rules
Yes, marijuana has been legalized, but it will be subject to some rules when it comes to its acceptance in family courts. Some of the regulations include ensuring you don’t:
- Use marijuana in the presence of a child or allow the child to access marijuana or paraphernalia.
- Drive while high under the influence of marijuana. The new law has a zero-tolerance rule, and offenders would face severe penalties.
- Show up to a court hearing, for visitation, or custody exchange, while under the influence of marijuana.
Doing any of the above would negatively impact the user’s custody case, and the person would face severe penalties, which include fines and possible imprisonment. Additionally, the other party would use excessive usage of marijuana to request sole custody.
The new law only allows one ounce of marijuana with no more than five grams in concentrated forms per person. Having more than that is a petty offense, but it becomes a misdemeanor if cited three times. Note that even a minor offense citation is enough for the unerring parent to raise a reasonable concern on your usage.
Although Arizona seems to have taken a step forward by legalizing marijuana, it is not a ticket to consume it indiscriminately to the detriment of your custody case. Responsible consumption is the way to go to avoid any negativity. You can also consult an experienced family law attorney for advice and get a more detailed explanation of the new law.