JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – A bill banning family courts from discriminating against parents or caregivers for the use of medical marijuana was debated last week by the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs in Missouri.
Senate Bill 357 “requests that we not punish or prejudice those individuals who actually have, have received a medical marijuana card and are only using medical marijuana” to alleviate problems such as chronic illness, chronic disease or chronic pain, the said Law Sponsor Sen. Barbara Anne Washington, D-Kansas City.
Parents are not punished for taking other drugs, she said. “We don’t punish them for smoking cigarettes. We don’t punish them for drinking unless it’s over the top, of course. So if they are using medical marijuana legally, we want to make sure these parents are not unbiased and cannot be reunited with their child. “
Committee chairman Senator Bill White, R-Joplin, indicated that the family court can handle addiction problems.
“If you have a drinking problem, the court can say, ‘Don’t drink it,” White said. “Now I know this is a little different from a medical marijuana card, but a medical marijuana card is not the same as it a (recipe) written according to our federal system of how we write for narcotics and other such things. “
Washington made it clear that “our family court system recognizes when these people are having a problem and that they will be included in treatment programs – whether they are alcohol-related, drug addict, legal, or prescribed. All we ask is that the medical marijuana card is also factored in and that this is not the total amount (for custody and removal of visits). “
Five witnesses testified during the hearing; All were for the bill.
Paul Callicoat is a retired interventional cardiologist from Joplin and a medical marijuana patient.
“I think it’s incredible that anyone can take this against me in court,” he said. “It is a constitutional right to use medical marijuana.”
He added, “Marijuana ain’t the boogeyman.”
Cynthia Northcutt, a family law attorney and nurse, agreed.
“Cannabis is medicine,” she said. “It wasn’t always the devil’s salad; By 1937, cannabis was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia and was routinely used as over-the-counter and prescription drugs in both the United States and worldwide. There is significant, high quality, peer-reviewed evidence that cannabis is effective in treating and / or treating many health problems. “
NORML Kansas City General Manager Jamie Kacz shared her experiences as a parent and medical marijuana patient.
“I was in a family court and had the status of just being a cannabis activist used against me by an abusive ex-spouse,” said Kacz. “I had to carry the stigma around with me through legal proceedings and take part in drug testing just to exercise my First Amendment rights to reform cannabis laws in Missouri and give other Missourians access to the drugs they needed. I have never had legal problems or committed a crime. But that didn’t matter. Was my cannabis advocacy turned against me? Yes. Did my children suffer from this? Yes they did. Legal medical marijuana patients shouldn’t live in fear of losing their children. No patient deserves their family torn apart because of their status as a legal marijuana patient. “