Can Marijuana Use Affect Divorce Proceedings When In Court?

Marijuana is on its way to legalization; no one can argue with that fact. Dozens of states have already legalized the drug for medical use, while others are moving directly to recreational legalization. But in states where marijuana is still an illegal drug, many spouses are asking themselves if smoking could impact an upcoming court case related to their divorce. And unfortunately the answer is yes.

An uncontested divorce lawyer named Aaron Reynolds commented on the reality of illegal drug use for married couples who are separated. “Most people don’t really think about the consequences — even a joint or two can have a direct impact on a person’s ability to find an equitable solution to divorce,” Reynolds said. “In states where the substance is illegal, the court treats it that way. A spouse can use it against you. Seeking an uncontested divorce is the best way out of this, but they aren’t available to just anyone.”

Marijuana is especially damaging for parents seeking shared custody of children. The court will be extremely hesitant to award custody to a person who is knowingly breaking the law, especially since a number of publications continue to openly assert that marijuana is a gateway drug (which is an assertion long since debunked, but that doesn’t seem to matter).

Judges will claim that marijuana use leads to impaired judgement, memory loss, and reduced reaction time, all of which might affect a person’s ability to safely care for kids. Second hand smoke is especially dangerous in the eyes of the law, and no one wants children exposed to drugs. Regardless of whether or not these claims have any merit (most of them don’t in a society where everyone and their brother still cracks open a beer in front of the kids), a spouse who doesn’t smoke will always have an edge over one who does.

Additionally, married couples hold communal property. Often, the finances included in that communal property go to the purchase of any marijuana used by one spouse, and then the other spouse can use that fact to influence the court’s decisions regarding the distribution of property. 

If a spouse smokes marijuana but knows a court date is coming up, it’s time to stop. Without proof, the court can’t render judgement in favor of one person over another. In most cases an immediate court-ordered drug test will be rendered when a party accuses the other of using marijuana. These tests are accurate for a period of about 90 days.

California Restaurant To Marijuana-Laced Cuisine On Menu

It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: while we might not be able to smoke in public, there’s nothing stopping anyone from consuming food laced with the calming substance. What better place to start the new trend than West Hollywood in Los Angeles? The Lowell Cafe will provide customers with a number of prepackaged food-related options to try the drug on their premises, and it’s completely legal based on state laws.

Only customers aged 21 or over will be allowed to peruse the “flower menu,” of course. Unfortunately, state laws do prevent the establishment’s owners from actually offering any marijuana-laced cuisine that isn’t prepackaged. Isn’t that a shame?

According to the Lowell Cafe’s website, they want their restaurant to be a “welcoming space for those who are cannabis connoisseurs and those who are canna-curious.” Lowell Cafe’s flower menu will be based on what the owners are able to keep in stock from the marijuana-growing local farms in the Los Angeles area. 

The website also says, “There hasn’t been anything like this in existence for over 100 years, dating back to pre-prohibition era cannabis tea pads. We’re excited to set the standard on what a cannabis cafe is and create this experience for the community.”

The idea is based on combining a person’s love of marijuana with their love of local cuisine, which is why the restaurant owners and chefs decided to build the menu only from regional family-friendly farms. 

You can expect the Lowell Cafe to open sometime next month, although the exact date has not been provided yet. The restaurant owners promised to take reservations at least two weeks in advance.

It looks like not everyone is happy about the idea, though.

Synagogue Rabbi Denise Eger of the Kol Ami Congregations said, “The business is to have outdoor space for smoking pot — and I don’t know why my congregation members and participants have to walk through clouds of marijuana to get to synagogue.”

That’s quite an assumption to make, but the city agrees that the cafe’s license should be monitored — and it will be for exactly one year, at which time it will be evaluated. If the cafe has a positive influence on the community as a whole, then it will be renewed. If not, then who can say?

Co-owner Sean Black said, “We want to set a high bar. We better do it right and not mess it up for everybody else. We all feel that pressure.”

What Kind Of Conditions Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

Maybe it was fate that medical marijuana would precede recreational marijuana; after all, medical marijuana has a purpose with which few can argue. The medicinal properties of the plant can work wonders for people when no other drug will alleviate the symptoms. Even though that’s the case, there are some states that haven’t legalized medical marijuana yet — angering proponents and victims of these diseases both. So what kind of symptoms and diseases can we use marijuana to treat?

Basically if you’ve got it, marijuana can help (if you believe the advocates). Here are some of the symptoms it can alleviate:

  • Cancer.
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Alzheimer’s.
  • Epilepsy. 
  • Glaucoma.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Spasms. 
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Nausea.

The list goes on and on. It can even be used to treat a few mental health conditions (such as PTSD or schizophrenia). According to opponents of legalization, there’s no proof that marijuana helps remove any of these symptoms or that it can be used to treat any of these diseases. In other words, while certain compounds within marijuana can be activated to reduce stress or pain, the drug can’t be used as a cure. Not really the best argument, since most American medicine is based on relieving symptoms anyway.

Although government regulations have resulted in limited research being done on the drug, much of the research that does exist suggests it can help reduce anxiety, nausea, vomiting, inflammation, relax muscles, or increase appetite. These properties make it ideal for treating chemotherapy, cancer (the cells of which it might even kill or slow down) and AIDS.

One of the examples proponents of marijuana most often use when attempting to overcome legalization laws is that the drug can help eliminate seizures in small children prone to epilepsy. A new drug made from CBD oil was recently approved by the FDA to help people with these and similar diseases, but it’s still not legal everywhere in the United States.

Currently medical marijuana is legal in 33 states with legislation pending in many more that would both legalize medical and recreational marijuana in one fell swoop. The wave is coming, and it seems opponents of legalization can do very little to stop it.

Medical marijuana is prescribed orally, through inhalation, or as a skin lotion or spray. Potential side effects include low blood pressure, depression, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.

Illinois Legalized Recreational Marijuana, But That Isn’t Stopping The Arrests

Lawmakers from the state of Illinois voted to approve recreational marijuana earlier this month, but the moment failed to arrive without the expected obnoxious resistance from opposing lawmakers. One even cooked up some eggs in a frying pan to “scientifically” represent how the brain appears when introduced to oh-so-dangerous drugs like marijuana. When the Illinois House of Representatives voted 66-47 contrary to that belief, he probably went home and knocked a few stiff ones back.

The Illinois Senate approved the measure and Governor J.B. Pritzker acknowledged his intent to sign the bill into law, which will pave the way for the legalized possession and sale of recreational marijuana on the first day of January next year. Although ten other states have so far approved similar measures to legalize the drug, Illinois is the first to approve the commercial sale of marijuana through legislative efforts alone.

The law won’t come soon enough to help Thomas J. Franzen, 37, of Chicago, though. He was recently sentenced to a whopping four years in prison after postal workers obtained a warrant to search suspicious packages arriving on his doorstep. Subsequent investigative efforts discovered he ordered 42 pounds of chocolate edibles from the great state of California, where apparently you can do anything.

The Kane County State Attorney’s office provided a statement acknowledging that Franzen had been accused of intending to sell or distribute the marijuana-laced chocolate goodies.

Will the new legislation affect this ruling, possibly overturning it sometime in the future? Probably not.

In addition to the 42 pounds of chocolate heaven, authorities found other “evidence of drug dealing” including over $2,000 in bills, postal receipts for packages he’d sent out both in the United States and abroad, and a digital scale. Oh, and cocaine. If that state decides to overturn prior marijuana-related convictions, it’s the cocaine that’ll end up keeping Franzen in prison.

Ouch. That’s got to sting.

Franzen’s attorney had previously failed to argue that he needed the 42 pounds of marijuana (and a smattering of cocaine dressing) for treatment of testicular cancer. The Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon actually took it easy on Franzen, who could have been sentenced to what would have been a mandatory 12-year minimum in accordance with the sentencing standards bound to the aforementioned crimes.

“In recognition of the seriousness of Mr. Franzen’s medical condition,” (and probably because they maybe thought Franzen had been running through an intense Breaking Bad marathon at the time), “our office reduced a 12-year mandatory minimum sentence to four years, of which he is required to serve only two years.”

Prosecutors also dropped more serious trafficking charges. All said, Franzen got off a lot easier than most would have.

Can I Travel With Medical Marijuana?

Medical Marijuana is prescribed to patients who are suffering from chronic pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma, and other medical conditions.  Even if you have a Medical Marijuana card that was issued by your state, it is highly advised that you do not travel with any amount of Medical Marijuana in your possession.

Currently, 29 out of the 50 states have some sort of legalized form of Marijuana but that means that 21 states do not. If you have a Medical Marijuana card it is only valid for that state. It is not valid for any other state. Regardless, Marijuana is still technically illegal under Federal United States Law even if it has been legalized in your state. Interstate travel is considered a federal jurisdiction so if you drive to another state while in possession of Medical Marijuana and get pulled over for an unrelated charge – you could be arrested for Marijuana possession, even if you have your card and show it to the officer.

If you live in a state where Medical Marijuana is legal, you cannot get on an airplane with it even if you are travelling between airports within your own state (for example from Los Angeles to San Diego). The airports are regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is an arm of the federal government. If you are caught by the TSA with any form of Marijuana, even if you have your Medical Marijuana card, you will be arrested for possession of Marijuana.

Our advice is that if you plan on traveling, do not bring Medical Marijuana with you. If you need Medical Marijuana to live, then perhaps traveling isn’t the best option for you to begin with. Hawaii just announced that it will be honoring other state’s Medical Marijuana cards at their dispensaries. So if you must travel – go to Hawaii.

Is Marijuana Use On The Rise In The United States?

Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has led to a surge of users–especially senior citizens. About 12 percent of Americans aged 50 to 59 report toking up, while about 8 percent of Americans aged 60 and up report the same. Both demographics have seen substantial growth in usage over the last decade, but the 60+ demographic has taken a wild upswing in the past few years, while the 50 to 59 demographic seems to be leveling off. But why?

It’s hard to say for sure before more research is done, but part of the reason seems to be the shift in social attitude between the era during which the drug war began and the era during which acceptance has become more common.

Simply put, fewer people feel compelled to lie when taking a survey. Even while anonymous, researchers long ago concluded that survey and poll takers aren’t always 100 percent truthful when answering questions about taboo or controversial topics (sort of along the same lines as why the number of homosexual or “mostly” heterosexual people is on the rise).

We’re becoming a society in which fewer people are frowned upon for reasons that never made much sense to begin with.

Back in the 80s, the statistics were quite a bit different. Today, senior citizens are about twenty times as likely to use marijuana for medicine or recreation.

Because medical marijuana is a big part of the equation, it should be noted that more senior citizens are allowed to legally benefit from those medicinal qualities as more and more states all doctors to legally prescribe the drug. That’s part of the reason for the uptick.

Surprisingly, legality hasn’t really stopped anyone else. The rate of marijuana use for Americans aged 18 to 29 has basically remained stagnant since 1984, hovering at around 29 percent. That means changing laws are allowing states to reap the taxation rewards of recreational marijuana without having even the remotest impact on young social attitudes toward pot. The attitudes of older citizens in general, meanwhile, are shifting towards legalization. When everyone else is enjoying the drug, why not?

Social attitudes are in part driven by what our parents did or didn’t do. Teenagers rebel simply because they can. Because rebellion is the biological constant, no one really knows if marijuana use will continue to rise, taper off over the next few years, or decline in a decade or two.

Does Marijuana Affect Cognition In Adolescents?

There is a constant influx of information about marijuana recently, especially as the elder law governing its use are being loosened around the country. Most of these studies seek to determine marijuana’s effect on younger minds.

Cognition is a word we use all the time, but how many of us could accurately define it? Cognition is the collection of all the processes we use to procure knowledge in conjunction with how we understand by thinking or experiencing various stimuli. Because we have cognition, we can perceive or sense, and even use intuition to acquire knowledge. When experts say that marijuana reduces mental cognition, it means that our ability to think, understand, or learn isn’t what it should be.

So does marijuana actually reduce cognition?

If you ask users, then sure it does. Although marijuana affects people differently (and specific pot strains make a big difference!), many users indicate increased cognition due to use. Their capacity for creativity is greatly increased, and suddenly everything just makes sense. All of life’s mysteries are finally answered. If only.

The science is much less certain. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, adolescents who take marijuana routinely but then stop will notice their capacity for learning and memory heightened. The scientific body of evidence that marijuana hinders growth in the mind of the adolescent is nigh incontrovertible. The study used 88 smokers to conduct its research. Some of the users smoked as often as every day or as little as once a week.

This is especially concerning because, according to the National Institutes of Health, almost fifteen percent of students in middle school and high school use marijuana at least once a month.

The number of children who believe marijuana is a health risk has declined in the last two decades, and it probably doesn’t help that legalization has opened the floodgates of misinformation. THC in general is known to primarily affect brain functions that develop during the teenage years. This development commonly continues until the early twenties.

There’s nothing wrong with recreational or medical marijuana–but it is important to have all the information about the drug before one makes the decision whether or not to partake, and children seem especially vulnerable to both the drug’s effects and the social forces which help govern its use.

History of Cannabis Use

Cannabis is a plant that is mostly known for its use as the drug marijuana. However, Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years before it turned into a recreational drug.

The first known use of cannabis dates all the way back to ancient times as far back as 8,000 BCE. In what is now modern-day Taiwan, hemp cord was found in pottery. Discovering hemp being used this early in civilization can be used as an argument for the cannabis plant is one of the first agricultural crops. From 6,000 BCE to 4,000 BCE records show that Cannabis seeds were used in food in China and hemp were being used as textiles.

Medical marijuana is also not a new concept. As early as 2,737 BCE, Emperor Shen Neng of China recorded the first use of cannabis as a medicine. Also during this time in the Ancient Hindu texts, Bhang (dried cannabis leaves, stems, and seeds) is mentioned as a form of medicine and offering to the divine figure Shiva.

In 500 BCE, we see the cannabis plant spreading throughout the world making appearances in Russia and Europe by a nomadic tribe called the Scythians from Siberia. Herodotus in his The Histories written in 430 BC writes how Cannabis was introduced by the Sycthians. Cannabis plants were still being used as a medicine and hemp was still being used as a textile and to make rope. And around 100 BCE, hemp paper was being produced in China.

The first instance of cannabis as a drug or psychotropic came between 100 – 0 BCE in China from Pen Ts’ao Ching. Once we enter the common era, cannabis is mentioned much frequently in written texts about its medical and drug properties. Pliny the Elder’s The Natural History mentions marijuana’s analgesic effects around 23 CE. Plutarch mentions how the Thracians are using marijuana has an intoxicant in 47 CE. Discorides listed marijuana in his book Pharmacopoeia in 70CE. The Greek physician Galen prescribes marijuana in 130 CE.

Around 1000 CE, hashish or cannabis resin grows in popularity throughout Asia as an edible. Meanwhile during this time hemp rope was making its way through Europe and up to the Vikings in Iceland and onto Italian Ships in Italy.

And while this is just from 10,000 BCE to 1,000 CE the use of cannabis grows tremendously.  For more information, we encourage you to visit our website.

Where Will Recreational Marijuana Be Legalized Next?

The wave is upon us for better or worse. Recreational marijuana is now legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and D.C. That’s nine states and the District of Columbia. In addition to recreational marijuana, the states slower to the party have been legalizing medical weed as well. Twenty have legalized. It seems people are picking up on the fact that they want this, and so it seems only a matter of time until they get it–regardless of what the federal government thinks.

So, where will recreational weed be legalized next? It’s hard to say with any certainty, but trends point to a number of possibilities (if we discount any states at all). There are those who suggest that Jeff Sessions’ decision to roll back Obama-era mandates regarding enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug has been legalized might slow the momentum, but we think otherwise. This is about the will of the people, not about the will of our federal puppet masters.

64 percent of U.S. citizens support the legalization of recreational marijuana, a record high. The numbers can only continue to grow as one generation compels the next to ease up on archaic values.

Proponents of legalization point to the shockingly high tax revenue brought in by states who have already legalized, and the benefits that that could have for hurting communities across the country are hard to miss. In addition, it might help keep our prison population down since there is a growing wealth of evidence that drug users should be treated as if they were suffering with a medical condition (since they are) and not treated as if they were hardened criminals (since they aren’t).

Delaware seems poised to legalize. Pot possession in Delaware is decriminalized even though marijuana usage rates in the state aren’t so high. What makes Delaware interesting apart from other states is that it might not be the residents who choose to pass the law. House Bill 110 is sponsored by lawmakers and, when it was subsequently approved in the state House, it ultimately failed because it required a supermajority to pass. Even so, it’s a step in the right direction.

Other states that seem like dominoes waiting to fall are: Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, New York, and Oklahoma. Really, though–it could be anywhere.

Potential Consequences Of Legalizing Marijuana

Legalizing marijuana has become a major political issue in many states. In fact, a lot of states have already begun to legalize marijuana. However, there are arguments against legalizing it. After talking with NJ Employment Attorneys, there are several reasons as to why the federal legalization of marijuana can be dangerous.

Potential Consequences Of Legalizing Marijuana:

1. Increased Use Among Adolescents.

While there are no inherent studies that indicate legalizing the drug will lead to more widespread usage, that is likely due to the fact that the drug is already heavily used among adolescents, to begin with. In fact, more teens now smoke marijuana than they smoke traditional cigarettes. Because of this, legalizing it can only lead to increased usage due to the drug being easier to obtain. Making marijuana legal would essentially provide much easier access to teenagers which is likely to increase the use among the group as a whole.

2. Negative Effects On Brain Development.

One of the major issues associated with legalizing pot stems from the changes that it causes in the user’s brain. While in full-grown adults, this change is temporary, for those that are still in their growth stages, this change could be permanent. There are still additional studies being done to fully grasp the long-term effects on the brain in adolescents, but there are initial results that have shown that marijuana abusers experience significantly decreased dopamine in the brain [1].

3. It’s Addictive.

While many proponents of the legalization of marijuana continue to spew the false narrative that marijuana is not addictive, the facts dispute them entirely. The brain regularly adapts to any sort of drug. Thus, it does so with marijuana as well. Because of the neural adjustments that occur when someone smokes marijuana regularly, it can lead to tolerance of the said drug. Along with tolerance comes both craving and dependence on the drug. Thus, someone can become addicted to THC and marijuana.

4. Negative Health Effects.

There is a lot of evidence that supports that heavy marijuana use can be associated with an increased risk of mental issues such as developing psychosis.

Overall, there are a lot of different consequences that you can expect with the legalization of pot. While there are benefits that have to be considered, the legalization of the drug does not come without its own share of consequences. These consequences must be fully understood in order to weigh the risk and reward associated with it. A lot of the risks associated with the legalization of the drug are health-related risks. Whereas, a lot of the benefits of legalizing it are economic. However, there is also growing evidence that the states that have legalized it thus far have experienced a significant drop in opioid dependence and use [2]. The subject of legal marijuana is expected to continue to be a hot topic among political parties and the public continues to weigh in on the subject. Ultimately, if you want to fully weigh in on the topic, you will want to do so on your state’s ballot.

References:

[1] www.pnas.org/content/111/30/E3149

[2] www.npr.org/opioid-use-lower-in-states-that-eased-marijuana-laws