California Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Parent Who Uses Medical Marijuana, Reversing Order For DCFS Intervention
Defense Attorney Lauren K. Johnson Prevails in State Appellate Court Case Setting Limits on Laws Separating Children From Their Parents That Use Marijuana for Medical Reasons
Irvine, Calif., December 11, 2012 — Lauren K. Johnson, an attorney with law offices in Irvine, California today announced a hard-fought appeals court victory regarding parenting and medical marijuana use. In the case of Drake M. (case # B236769), Division Three of the Second Appellate District, California Court of Appeal ruled on December 5, 2012 that while parents who abuse drugs can lose custody of their children, a parent who uses marijuana for medical reasons, with a doctor’s approval, isn’t necessarily a drug abuser.
Being hailed as precedent-setting, the Appellate Court’s ruling further clarifies child welfare law as applied in such cases, and represents a very significant victory for both the appellant and his legal counsel.
“The ruling illustrates a growing recognition of the legitimate use of medical marijuana in this state and other states,” says Johnson. “We want kids to be safe, but we also want parents to be able to use legally prescribed medications when children appear not to be at demonstrated risk of harm.”
In overturning a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling against the plaintiff, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the Appellate Court said the “mere usage of drugs,” including marijuana, is not the same as substance abuse that can affect child custody, as alleged in this case by the lower court. The court held that substance must either be diagnosed by a doctor or show up in a person’s behavior, such as absences or poor performance at work or at school, driving under the influence, or recurrent social or interpersonal problems. The Appellate Court emphasized that none of that happened in this case.
The father had testified that he uses medical marijuana for arthritis about four times a week, and does not use it in front of his child or care for the child while under the influence. He has been employed for many years and is capable of supporting his child, the court found.
About Lauren K. Johnson
Lauren K. Johnson is a criminal defense and juvenile law attorney that represents clients facing Misdemeanor and Felony Adult and Juvenile Criminal Charges. Ms. Johnson also handles post-conviction matters including Appeals and Expungement and specializes in representation of parents and families in Juvenile Dependency (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 300) / Child Protective Services (“CPS”) cases. Ms. Johnson aggressively fights CPS agencies to get children home with their families. She also represents Juvenile Dependency clients on Appeal, before various Court of Appeal in the State of California.
In 2011, Ms. Johnson was awarded the Paul Bell Fellowship through Appellate Defenders, Inc. for her work championing the rights of parents in Juvenile Dependency Appeals.
For more information, visit www.CaliforniaCriminalDefender.com or call (949) 679-7745.