Child Endangerment and Michigan Marijuana Laws

If you are charged with any offense involving controlled substances, driving under the influence, or child endangerment, our experienced defense lawyers are ready, willing, and able to help you.

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Marijuana and the Connection to Child Custody and Abuse Laws

In the State of Michigan, possession and use of medical marijuana are legal, and additional rights are provided by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), the place of such activities as evidence in child custody and abuse cases is not altogether clear. When the MMMA was passed in 2008, there was expected to be some legal grey area to work through. The same applies to the lawful use and possession of recreational marijuana by those over 21 under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. Child endangerment defense is critical because a conviction can have child custody and visitation consequences, result in jail and probation, loss of firearm rights, and more.

What is the law regarding children and Medical Marijuana?

The MMMA permits the medicinal use of marijuana when carried out following the MMMA’s provisions, one of which is “A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting under this Act unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated” (MCL 333.26424 (c)).

Yet with this statute, the legal clarity ends. There is a growing debate regarding the medical use of marijuana and its effects on children. The debate has evolved as marijuana policy changes and marijuana use becomes increasingly accepted. Determining when legal behavior crosses the line of child endangerment is complicated. The decision of when to charge a suspect is made by two notoriously conservative parties, the police and a prosecutor.

The law’s application relies heavily on specific facts and can result in many possible outcomes in court decisions. There have been several highly publicized cases in which a child was removed from a parent or guardian’s home due to medical marijuana use. No detailed opinions have been released by the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court to guide action.

One thing is clear, driving under the influence of marijuana with a child in the car is considered child endangerment and will result in serious criminal charges.

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Recreational Use of Marijuana and Child Endangerment Defense

In Michigan, only adults over the age of 21 may use marihuana legally. Regarding where you may use the substance, Possession or use of marijuana by someone under 21 faces a possible civil infraction and a fine. Michigan law requires that anyone using marijuana do so privately, such as in their residence, hotel room, or private office. It is illegal to use marijuana in a public place, such as on the street, concert, sporting event, park, or restaurant.

Possession of marijuana is another matter. The amount that you may carry varies depending on where you are. For example, while you may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in your home, you may not carry more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana when out in public. Furthermore, it’s illegal to possess marijuana in areas frequented by children, such as schools and school buses.

Possession and use of marijuana are still illegal under federal law, so you should NOT possess marijuana on federal land or locations regulated by federal law. Airports, for example, are considered federal property and, as such, follow federal law. Therefore, it is illegal to possess or use marijuana in an airport, any other federal property, military bases, and federal prisons and detention centers.

Why is marijuana still illegal under federal law?

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, signed into law by President Richard Nixon, placed marijuana in Schedule I, alongside substances like heroin and LSD, which are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

The federal prohibition of marijuana can be attributed to several factors, with politics playing a significant role. Historically, marijuana became stigmatized during the early 20th century, fueled by racially biased propaganda and concerns about its purported effects on society. This stigma led to the enactment of strict anti-marijuana laws, which were later reinforced by the war on drugs in the 1970s, further perpetuating the criminalization of marijuana use.

The complex interplay of politics, public opinion, and lobbying has hindered efforts to legalize marijuana federally. Conservative ideologies and concerns about potential negative consequences, particularly among certain political circles that profit from the continued criminalization of marijuana, have contributed to the resistance against legalization. Additionally, the federal government has long relied on the drug war as part of its crime-fighting agenda, making reversing the strict anti-marijuana stance challenging.

Despite the growing public support for marijuana legalization and the demonstrated economic benefits in states that have legalized it, the federal government has been slow to change its position. Politics, entrenched opinions, and the reluctance to challenge long-standing drug policies have all played roles in the government’s reprehensible failure to legalize marijuana federally. As the political landscape evolves and public opinion continues to shift, there may soon be opportunities for federal marijuana reform, but as of now, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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Michigan Attorneys for Drug Crimes and Child Endangerment Defense

If you are a patient, a qualified patient, or a caregiver and you are charged or being investigated for an offense involving the use of marijuana, you will need a Michigan Drug Defense Attorney. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. can help. We have experience dealing with medical marijuana issues and other drug-related offenses. We will do everything possible to help you and are not afraid to win!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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