May 1, 2020 By Paul Wallin

Can My Children Be Taken Away if I Smoke Marijuana?

As we all know smoking marijuana or consuming marijuana as an “edible” is now legal in California. This is great news for all adults who enjoy using marijuana in one of many of its forms.

However, what about for parents of young children? Can their children be taken away because they use marijuana?

The answer to that question is it “depends”.

Court’s Ruling

A recent Court of Appeals decision from Los Angeles County makes it clear that you stand a good chance of being able to smoke marijuana in your home, even if your children live with you, with one major exception.

The Court of Appeals in the case of  Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services vs D.D reversed a trial court decision in a case where a mother was dragged into court by social workers claiming that she was unfit since she admitted to smoking marijuana while she was pregnant.

The mother in question testified that her doctor had told her that taking marijuana, in the dose she was taking it, was not harmful to her fetus. The trial court who heard the trial “sustained” the petition filed by the social workers due to the mother’s use of marijuana.

However, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision by the trial judge. The court held that: “a finding of dependency cannot be based on substance abuse alone; jurisdiction requires a substantial risk of harm to the child arising from the substance abuse.” 

The petition was dismissed and the mother did not have to undergo therapy and other programs that would have been required had the Court of Appeals not made the decision above.

Can I Use Marijuana in My Home and Not Lose Custody of My Children?

So what does this mean to the millions of people in California who have children living with them? 

Can they use marijuana and other drugs?

Do they have to use the drugs outside the presence of their children?

Can they indulge in “edibles”  with their children in the same room just like so many people will drink a beer or two in front of their children?

If they engage in the use of marijuana will they lose their children?

The outcome, in this case, seems to indicate that the burden will be on the government to prove that the use of marijuana by a parent is placing their children at substantial risk of harm due to substance abuse. 

This means that even if you are a “recreational marijuana user” so long as you can keep your children safe, make sure they are fed, make sure they go to school and make sure there is food in the refrigerator you likely will prevail if the social workers come knocking at your door.


Contact Child Dependency Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today

Are you or a loved one at risk of losing custody of your child? For over 40 years the child dependency lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have successfully represented parents in child dependency court. Our experienced attorneys will fight tooth and nail to ensure that your legal rights are protected when social workers seek to take custody of your children away from you. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Family Law attorney near you, no matter where you work or live. 

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 730-5300 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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