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Medical Marijuana and Child Custody

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Rob Scott contributed to this report.

MEDFORD, Ore. – Mothers hoping to protect the rights of medical marijuana users gathered on Tuesday evening in downtown Medford. Mothers for Marijuana says members across the country have lost children to state custody just because marijuana was found in the home.

This year, Medford Police had two cases where medical marijuana patients have had kids taken away from them. Oftentimes, however, other drugs are involved, and DHS says marijuana alone is not reason enough for them to show up.

Oregon DHS says in order to take a child away from a parent, they have to prove to a judge that the parent was neglectful or abusive. Even if a parent tests positive for marijuana, that alone does not prove neglect. They also say it makes no difference if it’s legal medicinal use, recreational use, or some other drug entirely.

“It’s the same thing as prescription drugs. You can get a prescription for oxycontin, but if you’re using it and it’s negatively impacting your ability to parent, we’re probably going to go out,” said Jan Hall, with Department of Human Services.

Hall says in the past few years the department has moved away from taking kids away from parents at all. Usually they’ll try to find other relatives who can help the parents, or find community support. They say foster care is an absolute last resort.
Parents can even have their kids with them while going through rehab.