How Marijuana is Affecting the Custody of Your Child

How Marijuana is Affecting the Custody of Your Child

Do you know anyone who uses marijuana and has children?

Cities all over Michigan and the nation are adding decriminalization of marijuana to the November ballot. However, with marijuana becoming more and more prevalent and socially acceptable in our society, there is still a lot that needs working out.

The issue of parents losing their children to Child Protective Services because of marijuana being in the home is one of those issues. Below are three stories in three different states. Each story has a common theme.

The parents for one reason or another have what they consider to be a need for medical marijuana in their lives. While medical marijuana in Michigan is legal, one Michigan family had their infant daughter taken away.

New Jersey

Diane Fornbacher has been advocating for the change in marijuana laws since her freshman year in college. According to, she was arrested for marijuana possession.

Now 18 years later, Diane, now a mother of 2, is moving from New Jersey to Colorado after New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families paid her a visit.

Her son talked about hemp at school and it wasn’t long after that she was paid a visit.

Diane says that she has post-traumatic stress disorder that was spurred on by the years of abuse she faced as a child. However, this disorder doesn’t qualify her for medical marijuana. Fornbacher reports that even if you are on your deathbed you have to jump through hoops to qualify.

Now she is planning on moving from New Jersey to Colorado. She had this to say,

I don’t want to leave,” she said. “I fully intended to raise my kids here and make a difference.”


Another mother whose daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer moved to Colorado this past December.

According to, her now 3-year-old daughter receives about a gram of a non-psychoactive strain of marijuana called CBD daily. Barnhart reported seeing immediate response in her child’s cognitive development.

She developed into a normal 3-year-old from a very critically ill child almost overnight.”

The debate to legalize medical marijuana is still under way in Florida, but this mother wanted every option available for her ill child.


One of the saddest stories comes from our own state of Michigan. Maria Green is a caregiver not only to her husband who has a medical marijuana card for his severe seizures, but also to 5 other individuals with cancer.

In September of 2013, the police were raiding a home near the Green’s when police smelled marijuana coming from the Green’s home. Soon a search warrant was obtained and the house raided.

The police found what they were looking for – 29 marijuana plants. What the police didn’t know was that Maria Green is a licensed caregiver. The charges were dropped later, however, not before their infant daughter was removed from their home by Child Protective Services and placed in the care of the grandmother.

Maria and her husband Steve were only allowed to see their infant daughter a few times a week. Within hours of the charges being dropped, the child was back in the care of her parents.

Mlive reported this about the reunion,

An ecstatic Steve Green could not control his happiness when he saw her. “He ran to the door,” Maria Green said. “He saw the [CPS worker] with Bree in her arms and he ran to grab her. It’s just fantastic knowing that we can take her home.”

Why Is This Possible?

Due to marijuana continuing to be considered a schedule 1 drug by the Federal Government, it could mean grounds for child services to step in. Marijuana use has been used in custody battles and in the case of the Greens, no law had been broken.


Regardless of the decriminalization or even legalization of medical marijuana, there are still many things to be ironed out.

If you or someone you love is facing a child custody battle because of marijuana, please contact our office. Your child shouldn’t spend one minute longer away from you that they don’t have to.

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000