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Marijuana Laws in Michigan


       The legal status of marijuana possession and usage in Michigan is in a state of flux. There has been a great deal of change regarding the laws on marijuana possession and usage in the state over the last decade or so. What started as support for the usage of medical marijuana through a voter initiative has slowly morphed into relaxed views and attitudes of marijuana to the point there is now an effort to legalize even recreational usage through a ballot initiative in November 2018. In his article “An Introduction to the Ballot Initiative of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Michigan” in the August 2018 Michigan Bar Journal, Matthew Abel points out that the primary purpose of the act is to allow for personal possession and cultivation, ensure safety of marijuana products and establishments through regulation, and remove marijuana from the illicit market.

This ever changing landscape around the legality and acceptability of marijuana has created not only significant confusion among Michiganders, but there are a variety of concerns regarding the use, possession and growing of marijuana that move just beyond the normal criminal concerns that most people are aware of. It is important to understand how these changes can affect you. It is also worth noting that even though Michigan currently allows for medical marijuana use and cultivation and even if the November 2018 ballot initiative passes, marijuana will still be illegal pursuant to federal laws.  In light of the budding marijuana industry and the growing legitimacy that comes with it, there is more overlap in the family law practice area every day. Whether it is parties using it to treat a medical issue, growing marijuana for their own use or as a caregiver, or operating a marijuana related business, there are a lot of ways in which a client’s interaction with marijuana can affect their divorce or custody matter. A common mistaken belief is that just because it is more acceptable, and legal under certain circumstances, a court will not consider marijuana usage in terms of a custody case, which is not true.

Based on the novelty of a lot of these issues, where once illegal and derided behaviors are becoming legal and acceptable, it’s hard to predict how a court will consider marijuana usage. If the courts’ attitude toward alcohol use provides any guidance or indication, the general thought is some use is okay, but not to the point where it affects a person’s ability to parent in anyway. It seems like a no-brainer, but to be clear, being under the influence of drugs and alcohol during parenting time is always frowned upon by the courts. Courts are quick to take action if they think alcohol or drug usage is affecting a person’s ability to safely and effectively parent their child and can suspend parenting time altogether, require supervised parenting time, order alcohol and drug assessments, or take various other actions to protect the children from someone they feel is a danger. Therefore, parents should be sober and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their parenting time. Outside of your parenting time, courts are generally more tolerant of moderate alcohol and marijuana usage.

While our magic eight ball cannot tell you the outcomes with one hundred percent accuracy, our thorough knowledge litigating these issues give us the ability to thoroughly inform clients on all possible outcomes.  It is best to consult with an attorney with a deep understanding of not just the immediate issues you face, but can also recognize other issues that can arise that may not have been considered. The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler and Associates are well-versed on these issues and we urge you to contact our Milford, Michigan office at (248) 676-1000 for more information about marijuana issues in your family law case as well as how we can address your specific needs. We help clients throughout Southeastern Michigan, including Genesee, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, as well as Mid-Michigan in Clare, Gladwin, Ogemaw, and Roscommon Counties. Our experienced attorneys have counseled such clients in Milford; Hartland; Highland; White Lake; Commerce; Walled Lake; Waterford; West Bloomfield; South Lyon; New Hudson; Brighton; Howell; Ann Arbor; Holly; Fenton; Flint; Linden; Clarkston; Houghton Lake; Higgins Lake; Roscommon and many more local communities.