Can smoking weed make you lose custody of your child? What You Need To Know

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant that contains psychoactive compounds that can alter the mood, perception, and cognition of the user.

Marijuana use has been legalized for recreational purposes in California since 2018, following the passage of Proposition 64, which allows adults aged 21 and over to possess, cultivate, and consume cannabis within certain limits.

However, marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Smoking weed
Smoking Weed | HEALTHY

Marijuana use has been associated with various benefits and risks for adults, depending on the dose, frequency, mode, and context of use. Some of the potential benefits of marijuana use include pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, appetite stimulation, nausea reduction, anxiety relief, and creativity enhancement.

Some of the potential risks of marijuana use include impaired memory, attention, coordination, and judgment, increased heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, psychosis, addiction, and respiratory problems.

But what about the effects of marijuana use on child custody cases?

How can cannabis consumption affect the rights and responsibilities of parents who are involved in a legal dispute over the care and custody of their children?

This article will explore how marijuana use can influence child custody decisions in California, where recreational cannabis is legal but not universally accepted or tolerated.

It will also provide some tips on how to avoid or minimize the negative consequences of marijuana use on child custody cases.

READ ALSO : Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce? Understanding Your Options

How marijuana use can affect child custody cases

Child custody cases are decided by family court judges in California based on the best interests of the child standard.

This means that the judge will consider various factors that affect the health, safety, education, and emotional needs of the child, as well as the parent’s ability to provide care and guidance. Some of these factors include:

1.The age and developmental stage of the child

2.The physical and mental health of the child and the parents
3.The emotional bond and relationship between the child and each parent
4.The history of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect by either parent
5.The wishes of the child, if they are old enough to express them
6.The stability and continuity of the child’s living environment
7.The cooperation and communication between the parents

Marijuana use can be one of the factors that influence the judge’s decision on child custody, especially if it is alleged or proven that the parent’s cannabis consumption impairs their judgment, behavior, or parenting skills, or exposes the child to potential harm or neglect.

For example:

1.If a parent smokes marijuana in front of the child or in a shared space where the child can inhale secondhand smoke, they may be accused of endangering the child’s health and well-being.
2.If a parent leaves marijuana products or paraphernalia within reach of the child or fails to secure them properly, they may be accused of neglecting the child’s safety and exposing them to accidental ingestion or poisoning.
3.If a parent drives under the influence of marijuana with the child in the car or allows someone else who is intoxicated to drive them, they may be accused of risking the child’s life and violating traffic laws.
4..If a parent fails a drug test ordered by the court or violates a court order that prohibits or restricts their marijuana use during parenting time, they may be accused of disobeying the court’s authority and demonstrating a lack of respect for the law.

How to avoid or minimize the negative effects of marijuana use on child custody cases

If you are a parent who uses marijuana and you are involved in a child custody dispute in California, you should be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to avoid losing or compromising your custody rights.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your child:

1.Obtain a medical marijuana recommendation from a licensed physician if you have a qualifying condition that can be treated with cannabis.

This can help you establish a legitimate reason for your marijuana use and show that you are following state law and medical guidelines.

2.Keep your marijuana products and paraphernalia out of sight and access of your child. Store them in a locked container or cabinet that only you have access to.

Do not leave them in your car, purse, backpack, or anywhere else where your child or someone else can find them.

3.Refrain from smoking or vaping marijuana in front of your child or in any shared space where your child can inhale secondhand smoke.

Use alternative methods of consumption such as edibles, oils, tinctures, or capsules that do not produce smoke or odor.

If you do smoke or vape, do it outside, away from your child, and use a fan, air purifier, or window to ventilate the area.

4.Limit or abstain from marijuana use before or during your parenting time. Do not use marijuana when you are responsible for your child’s care, supervision, or transportation.

Do not use marijuana when you are expecting a visit from your child, the other parent, or a social worker.Do not use marijuana when you have a court appearance, a meeting with your attorney, or a drug test scheduled.

5.Comply with any court orders and drug testing requirements that apply to your case.

Follow the instructions and guidelines given by the court, your attorney, or the testing agency.

Do not try to cheat, tamper, or evade the drug test. Be honest and cooperative with the court and the other parties involved in your case.

6.Seek professional help if you think you have a problem with marijuana use or addiction.

Contact a licensed counselor, therapist, or treatment program that can help you address your cannabis use and its impact on your life.

Show that you are willing and able to change your behavior and improve your situation.


Marijuana use can have serious implications for child custody cases in California, where recreational cannabis is legal but not universally accepted or tolerated.

Parents who use marijuana should be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to avoid losing or compromising their custody rights.

They should always prioritize their child’s best interests and well-being over their personal preferences or habits.

Leave a Comment