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Illinois Courts Cannot Discriminate Against Parents for Legal Marijuana Use

Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois Courts Cannot Discriminate Against Parents for Legal Marijuana UseA child’s safety with a parent is one of the factors that a family court will consider when allocating parental responsibilities during a divorce or separation. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will also consider this when determining whether to let someone adopt a child or become their legal guardian. Illegal drug use in the home is a red flag that a parent may be irresponsible and creating a dangerous environment for a child. However, some of the assumptions on drug use will change starting in 2020, when Illinois officially legalizes the recreational use of marijuana.

No Discrimination Against Legal Users

The "Illinois Cannabis and Tax Act" includes a section that is titled “Discrimination prohibited.” The section states that the lawful use of marijuana under this act cannot be the “sole or primary basis or supporting basis” for limiting someone’s rights as a parent or right to adopt or become a guardian of a child. This means a court cannot reduce your parenting time or decision making responsibilities based on your co-parent complaining that you use recreational marijuana, as long as you use it in a legal and responsible manner. Likewise, the Illinois DCFS cannot cite your legal marijuana use as a reason for denying your adoption request.

Irresponsible Use

As with other legal drugs, marijuana use will still impact your parental fitness if you are irresponsible with it. A court may decide that your marijuana use is a danger to your children if:

  • You are under the influence of marijuana when you are supposed to be caring for them.
  • You have been caught driving under the influence of marijuana.
  • The court can connect your marijuana use to a lack of good judgment.
  • You use marijuana around your children.
  • You allow your children to use marijuana or fail to prevent them from taking your marijuana without your permission.

The minimum age for using marijuana in Illinois will be 21, and it will be illegal for an adult to use marijuana products around someone they know or should know is underage.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Lawyer

The issue of marijuana use is bound to come up in some Illinois parenting cases after it is legalized because there will be differences of opinion on whether a parent or potential parent is using it responsibly. A St. Charles, Illinois, family law attorney at Goostree Law Group will help you reach a solution that ensures your children’s safety and protects your parental rights. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3992&ChapterID=35

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