Cannabis is now legal in New Jersey. Where and when can you buy it? Don’t ask! That is the subject for another time or another blog post. (It might be a while).
However, let’s say you’ve already obtained cannabis for recreational use (without a medical marijuana card from an approved dispensary) and want to know the legalities of same.
The Court recently held, in New Jersey Div. of Child Prot. & Permanency v. D.H., 2021 N.J. Super. LEXIS 106, that recreational cannabis use alone cannot be grounds for termination of parental rights unless the cannabis use endangers the child or children.
This decision is a victory for cannabis users. However, this victory is not absolute because a child’s welfare comes as a priority to an adult’s personal rights. Diving into the text of the Court’s decision, it is clear that Superior Court judges will retain discretion to terminate parental rights (or otherwise rule in a matter) if the Court finds that an adult’s cannabis use endangers the child.
The focus on harm to the child is consistent with how the courts consider prescription medication use and alcohol use. By requiring the trial judge to find that the adult’s cannabis use actually endangers the child, the court is recognizing that that cannabis is not inherently more dangerous to children than other substances but that appropriate use of all substances is key. While the Court cannot find that cannabis use per se endangers children, cannabis use will be investigated on a factually sensitive basis. This fact sensitive approach makes it all the more important to work with a law firm that seeks to understand you and work with you to help you understand your individual rights in conjunction with your responsibilities as a parent.
If you have questions about parenting and cannabis use, or other family law questions, do not hesitate to contact Argentino Fiore Law & Advocacy.