Evidence of Marijuana Use in Child Custody Cases

Twenty U.S. states, including Nevada, have legalized marijuana use subject to specific regulations. The laws and regulations that apply in each state differ. Nevada allows and regulates medical marijuana, while the state of Washington allows adults over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries there. Nevada’s most recent legislation is from the 2013 Legislative Session. See, Senate Bill 374. Marijuana remains completely illegal under Federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice, however, has had to issue guidelines to Federal prosecutors in those states that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana under state law.

Citizens risk violating Federal law, even though they may be fully compliant with their own state law. This is a changing area of law and both state and federal lawmakers are playing catch-up.

Even though marijuana seems headed towards being the next drug that is eventually legalized, taxed and regulated throughout the country (like alcohol), parents should not assume that marijuana use is acceptable in the lives of their children. Judges are fond of saying, “Children are entitled to a drug-free life.” Drug use and abuse is a critical factor in any divorce involving child custody. The courts have broad authority to make orders that protect the best interests of children. Do not confuse pot’s partial legalization as a shield against the laws regarding child custody.

Jessica H. Anderson
Divorce Attorney Reno, NV