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Parents who use medical marijuana regain custody of baby from CPS

Though Michigan has made medical marijuana legal, one state agency tried a tactic other than arrest to punish a married couple for using the drug legally. Child Protective Services seized the couple's infant daughter, claiming that the couple was exposing the girl to marijuana.

CPS agents, escorted by police officers, entered the family's home and took away the baby in mid-September. The case became a cause for pro-medical marijuana advocates in Michigan. They supported the parents' legal crusade to get their daughter returned to their custody.

Each parent has a prescription for marijuana, as required under state law. The girl's mother lives with multiple sclerosis, while her husband has a severe form of epilepsy. He says that marijuana is the only drug that can relieve his seizures.

The authorities became involved in the family's affairs after the couple was charged with manufacturing of marijuana in Oakland County; those charges were ultimately dropped, likely due to the couple being registered medical marijuana users. It appears that social workers contacted CPS, which led to the September raid. One legalization advocate said that CPS has been trying to strip many patients of child custody since medical marijuana was legalized.

The case was headed for trial until a hearing on Oct. 23. The Ingham County judge presiding over the case expressed doubts about the conduct of the social workers in this case. He called a special hearing for Oct. 25, at which he announced that custody would be returned to the parents. However, he ordered them to submit the child to regular drug testing.

It appears that a prescription for medical marijuana is not yet fully respected by every government agency in Michigan. Hopefully, as time goes on policies in CPS and other entities will adapt to the new law.

Source: USA TODAY, "Medical marijuana-using parents get baby back," Bill Laitner, Oct. 25, 2013

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