While the legalization of marijuana has been a heated debate for many years in the United States, Illinois has always been progressive in its views. In 2013, Illinois moved to legalize medical marijuana use. In 2016, Illinois decriminalized marijuana. Authorities fined any person(s) caught possessing less than 10 grams rather than jailing them (a very progressive move given the history of criminalization). And finally, recreational sales of marijuana began January 1, 2020. Although many states have legalized pot, it remains illegal at the federal level. However, that may change soon. In a historic move today, Congress passed a bill for the first time ever for legalization. While its legalization is not guaranteed (given the republican controlled Senate), this is monumental. Regardless of marijuana’s federal legal status, there is still a stigma around consumption. You may be wondering how smoking marijuana may impact your Illinois divorce and child custody case.
Marijuana May Impact Illinois Divorce and Child Custody Cases
Because the legalization of marijuana in Illinois is still recent, there is not a lot of definitive information. It may compare to the use of alcohol. If it is casual consumption, it should not be a problem. However, if use becomes excessive and puts children in harm’s way, then it is an issue.
Something that is clear though, responsible use of a legal substance within Illinois law will not lead to incarceration. In divorce proceedings, a judge may look at the criminal history of a parent to determine the child’s best interests. Convictions may curtail or terminate parental time. With the legalization of marijuana, this should no longer be an issue. Additionally, Illinois has moved to expunge many arrest records for marijuana related crimes. This can significantly help you in your child custody battle.
Keep in mind, a vindictive spouse may take advantage of the stigma surrounding marijuana use to paint you in a negative light. In this situation, it is important to have an experienced (and tolerant) Chicago divorce attorney by your side.
If you are a parent that enjoys a responsible blunt occasionally, there are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Do not leave paraphernalia in common spaces where your children can access it.
- Do not use marijuana around your children. Save smoking for after bedtime or when they are not around.
- If you enjoy edibles, make sure to not store it somewhere your children may mistake it as a snack.
If marijuana has negatively affected past divorce proceedings, contact us. There are remedies available to you since its legalization. If you are a marijuana user worried about how it may impact your case, our experienced Chicago divorce attorneys are here to help!