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Despite Texas medical marijuana win, challenges remain

Many argue that Texas came late to the table in acknowledging the potential value of marijuana as medicine. Approval of its use under the Compassionate Use Act only came two years ago. As of Sept. 1, 2017, there are just three licensed medical marijuana producers for the entire state, and critics say rules for prescribing the drug are so restrictive that there's concern few patients will derive any benefit.

Another aspect of this issue that remains unclear is what implications there might be in the context of parenting relationships with children. While this is something most people might not think much about, attorneys experienced in helping clients establish parenting and child visitation plans are aware of the challenges that medical marijuana treatment can present. Overcoming them can be complex.

Considering the deep divide that exists over the risks of marijuana use, it is not surprising that a divide should remain among stakeholders in protecting children from exposure to it - even if it is considered a viable medical therapy. In matters of separation and divorce, the best interests of the children are the overriding concern of the courts. And there is still little consensus among medical experts about what compounds in marijuana provide relief for various conditions or how to control dosing.

That can lead to disquiet on the family front, as one case out of another state reflects. In this matter, a mother of two young girls sought to restrict visitation of the girls with their father. Her reason was his legal use of marijuana for chronic pain.

The mother said she worried that the children could be exposed to the drug or the father might suffer impairment while the children are with him. But the father said that, in compliance with existing court orders, he doesn't use the drug before or during visits with the children. He also doesn't keep marijuana in his home.

That father enjoys unsupervised visits with his daughters, but it required going to court to obtain them. And considering the level of division that still exists in Texas, even under the Compassionate Use Act, it seems safe to say that courts will be called on to weigh in as questions continue to arise on a case-by-case basis.

Parents dealing with medical marijuana issues may decide to consult with a Board-certified experienced Family Law specialist to review legal options available to them in the context of local courts in their area.

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