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‘Legal’ marijuana can still get people into legal trouble


2228 LEMA Winter GP_Page_2_Image_0001Colorado, Washington and a few other states have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and many others have decriminalized it or approved it for medical purposes.

But just because someone is possessing, smoking or growing pot in a place where it won’t cause them to go to jail, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other legal consequences.

For instance, marijuana use can still be a big issue in a child custody case. One court in Colorado stripped a father of custody because he was smoking pot for medical reasons, saying that exposure to the drug at home wasn’t in the children’s best interest.

In Michigan, child-welfare agents took a girl from the home of her mother and stepfather after the mother’s ex-husband reported that the couple were growing pot in their home, even though they were doing so legally for medical use.

Remember, too, that even if marijuana is legal, a business can generally still enforce a “no drugs” policy. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati recently ruled that Wal-Mart could fire a cancer patient who failed a drug test even though he had a medical marijuana card.

And the fact that marijuana may have been decriminalized won’t get people off the hook if they’re caught driving while impaired, or if they negligently injure someone while they’re high.



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