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Even in Colorado, parental pot usage can affect custody

With recreational marijuana use legal now at the state level here in Colorado, some parents mistakenly believe that they can smoke weed or consume THC-infused edibles with impunity. But for parents locked into contested child custody battles, the decision to use marijuana could be turned against you when determining custody or even visitation rights.

There are a few reasons for that, with the most glaring being that marijuana is still illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug with no acceptable medical uses — just like heroin. There are few people who would argue that the two drugs are on equal footing, but unless and until some major changes are made at the federal level, a parent's marijuana use can cost them dearly.

Then, there is the matter of impairment. Just as a parent who drinks alcohol to excess around the children could face custody challenges, so could a parent whose marijuana use leaves them too impaired to properly supervise the kids.

The problem with marijuana use is that it is not always clear how stoned a person will feel after smoking a joint or eating an edible. You may realize that if you have more than two glasses of wine with dinner you will feel side effects of intoxication. But your marijuana threshold may vary widely depending upon the strain of the bud, whether it is energizing sativa or incapacitating indica and whether you smoked, vaped or ingested the THC.

Be smart about your custody case. Lay off the marijuana during the pendency of your case in the family law courts. But be aware that if you smoked regularly prior to the filing of the case, even though you have now quit, you could still test positive on a urine drug screen for several weeks.

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