Marijuana and Family Law

Child & Parenting Matters, Family Court Matters, Understanding Family Law

Marijuana and Family Law

The use of marijuana is relatively high and it is not uncommon in family law matters for one parent to allege that the other parent takes drugs or regularly smokes “weed” and is not a fit and proper parent to be spending time with the children.

Some of the physical effects of using marijuana can include drowsiness, temporary memory loss, risk taking behaviour and impaired capacity as a parent or carer of children.

The Family Law Act 1975 does not specifically address the use of marijuana, however parties are required to disclose allegations of alcohol and substance abuse at the start of Court proceedings. Where one parent alleges alcohol or substance abuse by another parent, it is not uncommon for the Court to order a urinalysis or hair follicle drug test to be completed.

In the case of Hogan & Hogan [2008] the father gave evidence that suggested he smoked 600 joints per year. He stated that there was no evidence of actual abuse or neglect to the children, the children had never witnessed him smoking marijuana and he had been employed full time for a significant period of time. The Court found that the father was addicted to marijuana and this reduced his capacity to meet the children’s needs and ability to protect them from the risk of abuse and neglect. The Court made orders that the time the children spend with the father be reduced to four nights per fortnight.

Where the Court is concerned about a parent’s cannabis use, the Court can make any orders that they consider are in the best interest of the child. Some examples of orders they might make include:

  • Random urinalysis drug testing
  • Hair follicle drug testing
  • Supervised time only with the children
  • Limited unsupervised time with the children
  • That time with the children be suspended if a positive drug test is returned

If you are consuming drugs or you believe the other parent of your child is consuming drugs, contact the lawyers at Cairns Family Law Group to obtain legal advice on how this can impact on your parenting arrangements.

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