One of the most common problems facing many Missouri attorneys since medical marijuana was legalized has been parental protection.
Last year, NORML KC wrote a language that became HB 2715 and didn’t make it across the finish line. This year, Kansas City Senator Barbara Washington, with support from NORML KC, took on the task of advocating the language in SB357. The bill changes the provisions regarding medical marijuana program participants in family court matters. It is currently awaiting referral from the committee.
Sen. Washington, official photo
“When Amendment 2 was passed in November 2018, our organization knew we still had to make sure patients were protected,” said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of NORML KC. “We knew medical marijuana would be legal under Amendment 2, now Article XIV, but it would take time and effort to make sure that every other government agency had to make some adjustments.”
While medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, it remains a federally illegally controlled substance and, as such, poses problems for patients and parents with conflicting opinions when it comes to family court matters.
“We started research and found that other states had problems removing children from medical marijuana patients’ homes and problems in family courts. We have learned that in other states, parental use of medical marijuana is often a determining factor when state agencies are considering removing a child from a home and determining custody of children. We wanted to keep this from being a problem as medical marijuana patients don’t have to choose between their medicine and their children, ”Kacz continued.
Senator Washington and NORML KC aren’t the only ones focused on Missouri’s medical marijuana patients and their families.
Representative Ron Hicks, R-St. Peters also works to ensure that families in Missouri are not affected by their status as patients or employees of the medical marijuana industry. Hicks was a vocal advocate of medical marijuana and patient rights. This year, Hicks is the billing sponsor for HB485. The summary of the law states: “Provided that a child’s placement in an adoptive home is not delayed or denied if a prospective adoptive parent has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry. “