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How Legal Marijuana Will Affect Troubled Families
Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2013 at 10:19:21 PT
By Alexandra White and Carolyn Witkus
Source: Christian Science Monitor 
Littleton, Colo. -- Last fall, voters for the first time approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use at the state level  in Colorado and Washington. Since then, much attention has focused on the conflict between state and federal law, which still classifies the drug as illegal. But state legalization also raises important questions at the personal level. Many of them center around the family.As attorneys practicing family law in Colorado, we feel it's important to consider these questions, especially since the push is on for recreational legalization in other states. Oregon, California, and Maine may be next. (Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.)
Colorado's constitutional amendment states that individuals can purchase marijuana from authorized retailers and that licensed growers can produce commercial quantities for retailers. The intent is to treat marijuana like alcohol. That's not so easy in practice.Based on our legal experience, we'd like to offer a scenario  fictional, but realistic  to illustrate how consequential Colorado's change will be for families, and how far the state still needs to go to address unresolved issues.Consider Michael and Elizabeth Jones who have two children, Ashley, age 16, and Monica, age 13. The parents are no longer such a happy couple, although they all still live in a lovely home in Highlands Ranch, a well-off suburb of Denver. Ashley is a rebel  hanging out with the wrong boys, sneaking out of the house late at night, and thumbing her nose at her parents' authority now that she has a driver's license and a car. Monica is just the opposite of her big sister, struggling at school socially.'But Honey, It's Legal Now.'Three to four nights a week, Michael quietly steps into the backyard or goes to the basement to smoke a joint. Elizabeth has never approved of his marijuana use, and as the children get older she has increasing concerns about their exposure to it. Michael says: "What's the big deal? It's legal here now. You don't hear me complain when you have wine after dinner."The final straw comes when Michael decides to make some extra money to pay down credit-card bills (the perfect family vacation to Hawaii is expensive). He starts a small grow operation in the basement to sell marijuana. Elizabeth files for divorce  and she doesn't want Michael to have the children at all because she believes that the grow operation and his recreational marijuana use are dangerous to the children.What happens to families when pot is involved? Drug use is often an issue in divorce and parenting cases. Usually, one parent does not approve of the other's drinking or use of illegal drugs  or addiction. Historically, it's been fairly easy to take a case to court with proof that a parent is illegally using drugs and limit that parent's contact with the children.That all changed with marijuana legalization. The courts do not routinely take children away from a parent because that parent legally consumes a reasonable quantity of alcohol  a legal substance. Will the courts take the same approach with marijuana?Nobody knows. On one hand, judges tend to represent a more conservative demographic and may continue to be shocked by a parent's recreational marijuana use (not to mention the state law's conflict with federal law). Yet the intention of the new Colorado law appears to be to treat marijuana as much like alcohol as possible: Legalize it, but regulate production, sale, and use to mitigate any dangers associated with it.If we don't penalize a parent for having a glass of wine or two after dinner while the kids are in bed, why should we penalize a parent for smoking a small quantity of pot? Can a parent handle a crisis while high? For example, what if one of the Jones children has a medical emergency in the middle of the night after Michael has smoked pot; could he handle the crisis? Are there varying degrees of intoxication from marijuana, ranging from mild (like a drink or two of alcohol) to incapacitating the user, to the point at which a court should say: "No, you can't parent when you're stoned!"These are precisely the arguments raised by Michael and Elizabeth in their now-contentious custody case. Meanwhile, Ashley is invited on a camping trip with friends (including teens her mother doesn't approve of). When Elizabeth refuses to allow it, Ashley runs away to her father's and refuses to speak to her mother.But Michael comes home from work one evening and finds Ashley and her car gone, along with half of his crop of marijuana. He soon receives a call from the Nebraska police. Ashley has been arrested for possession of an illegal substance. Even if she were of age, marijuana isn't a legal substance in Nebraska.Monica has also helped herself to her father's stash, and is expelled from school. She didn't use it, she says. She just wanted to show it around so kids would stop bullying her.All Those Tricky QuestionsCan safeguards be fashioned so that a parent can still have his or her children at home where marijuana is being grown? So that marijuana does not make its way across state lines? So that it does not end up in schools or other inappropriate arenas? Are locks on basement doors good enough? Parental guidance and supervision? What is good enough?And what about drug testing? Marijuana remains in the user's system much longer than alcohol, and there is no test available to definitively establish when or how much of the drug was used. Blood testing may be one option, but it is costly and requires a laboratory setting and trained professionals to draw blood.And how does one determine if someone who tests positive for marijuana used it legally in Colorado  while not operating a vehicle and inside state lines  given the difficulties of testing?One place to start answering the vast range of questions we raise is with research that aims to produce a method of testing that easily determines level of impairment. Until then, Colorado will have to work through these issues on an ad hoc basis. Other states considering legalization should realize that treating marijuana like alcohol is not as easy as it sounds.Alexandra White and Carolyn Witkus are shareholders at Gutterman Griffiths PC in Littleton, Colo. Both attorneys specialize in high-conflict parenting litigation, including cases involving substance abuse.Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author:  Alexandra White and Carolyn WitkusPublished: March 4, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Christian Science Publishing SocietyContact: letters csmonitor.comWebsite: http://www.csmonitor.com/ URL: http://drugsense.org/url/WQ78j2Q6CannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #50 posted by Hope on March 11, 2013 at 17:47:21 PT
Acacia
I guess.
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Comment #49 posted by Hope on March 11, 2013 at 17:46:44 PT
Got my password changed
The only thing anyone opened was an ad for acia berry pills. I don't think it was a virus. I think someone actually hacked into my account. A couple of days ago the account was inquiring had I inquired about my password... and I hadn't.
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Comment #48 posted by FoM on March 11, 2013 at 13:16:13 PT
Hope
We just got back from the Vets and I checked my e-mail and deleted the one in your name with the virus.
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Comment #47 posted by BGreen on March 11, 2013 at 11:54:16 PT
I didn't follow the link
The same thing has happened with my father-in-law's yahoo account. Have you changed your yahoo password? I would if I was you.Bud
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Comment #46 posted by Hope on March 11, 2013 at 10:01:13 PT
Dang....
FoM, BGreen, Museman.... watch out in your mail. I've apparently been hacked or something. People are getting mail from me that I didn't send. I also got a notice that your mailbox rejected something, Museman. That's good I guess. I didn't do it! Don't open anything from me unless you know for sure it's from me.
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Comment #45 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 20:06:49 PT
One More Thing
That's why they sell for so much money. 
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Comment #44 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 20:05:40 PT
BGreen
I do go thru a lot of food. I have it delivered by Fed-X from Mr.Chewy.com. Each dog eats 4 cups of a top notch kibble per day plus I feed cooked chicken breast that is boneless and skinless, eggs and oatmeal. They get fed 2 times a day. Some get special vitamins too. They get fish oil and bone supplements, vitamin C and cranberry capsules.
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Comment #43 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 19:48:31 PT
I'd get too attached and keep them all
then we'd go broke feeding that many hungry mouths. Even our huge kitty only eats 3/4 cup of food each day. That would be about one bite for your dogs.
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Comment #42 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 19:17:12 PT
BGreen
They stay with us until they are 8 weeks old so we have a lot of fun with them. Two of the males from our last years litter weigh 100 lbs and they are only 8 months old. 
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Comment #41 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 19:14:56 PT
BGreen
She had 6 puppies. One male and 5 females. I think they are all sold. One is going to Rochester, New York.
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Comment #40 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 18:56:23 PT
That's sweet, FoM
How many puppies do you have?
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Comment #39 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 18:33:02 PT
BGreen
I didn't know her name but that voice was exactly what I thought of when I heard Mrs. Green. The band is superb. The music was really great too. You should record You Can Lead a Horse To Water. I bet it would be great! As tired as I am after a day of talking to people about our rottie puppies your music gave me energy to continue on with the things I must get done tonight.
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Comment #38 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 17:51:44 PT
Wow, that's my wife you're talking about
That is one heckuva compliment, FoM, and Mrs. Green and I both thank you so much. We are passionate people, passionate for each other and passionate about our music. In fact, Mrs. Green is my Sam Brown and I am her Clapton.Bud
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Comment #37 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 17:20:03 PT
BGreen
That's great. When I was listening to the songs I kept thinking of how the woman's voice reminded me of this singer's voice. I love this style of female singer.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R7nQj-SUTc
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Comment #36 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 17:08:53 PT
Thanks, FoM
The chic singer is Mrs. Green and I did backing vocals, lead vocal on that song and played all of the instruments.I'm so glad you are enjoying them. You should see us perform live. We're adorable. :)Bud
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Comment #35 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 17:02:48 PT
BGreen
Is that you singing on You Spin Me Around? If so you sound great!
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Comment #34 posted by FoM on March 09, 2013 at 16:54:04 PT
BGreen
It has been a long day and we are listening to your music. It's really good. Who is singing? I am really impressed. I like them all so far.
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Comment #33 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 15:03:39 PT
OK, I won't share
Actually, the reason that came to mind was from seeing some guys dress like that. I'd go see some band I always liked and you could almost always tell who the original members were and who were the new guys. I'm racking my brain to remember the exact group but I'll never forget the guitarist with the spandex pants whose shirt was too short and his fat belly was squishing out.Scary, unattractive, unnecessary and distracting. Some people shouldn't be allowed to dress themselves.Bud
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Comment #32 posted by Hope on March 09, 2013 at 14:45:08 PT
That sounds more like it might scare me
than make me laugh.Sorry. I'll pass on that!
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Comment #31 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 14:39:06 PT
You really want to laugh?
I'll send you a picture of me in my leopard skin spandex pants and my cropped half-shirt with a v-neck so my chest hair accentuates my gold chains and puka shell necklace.I definitely put the "ass" in class.Bud
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Comment #30 posted by Hope on March 09, 2013 at 14:09:44 PT
Turns out...
laughing really is good for your heart.Funny.
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on March 09, 2013 at 14:08:55 PT
Lol!
Thanks, I needed that.
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Comment #28 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 13:35:06 PT
Rock and Roll at it's finest
We frighten small children and send dogs into labor. I think we've finally made it. Next, we're going to go talk really loudly at the library and then go trash a room at the Holiday Inn Express.Rock and Roll!The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #27 posted by Hope on March 09, 2013 at 07:20:03 PT
Lol! BGreen
I got to listen to most of one before there was a toddler meltdown here. I'll listen to more today. I was so exhausted last night I just went to bed before nine and now that I'm up and around I'll listen to the rest today. Sounded wonderful, what I heard.
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Comment #26 posted by BGreen on March 09, 2013 at 00:52:08 PT
No pressure, FoM. There's no expiration date.
I'd like to know which song induced labor because we might want to be careful around pregnant women.Bud
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on March 08, 2013 at 18:22:36 PT
BGreen
I got them downloaded and listen to one and will listen to the others tomorrow. It was really good. My rottie had her pups today so I was really busy most of the day.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on March 08, 2013 at 09:52:26 PT
BGreen
Thank you. I will check it out. 
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Comment #23 posted by BGreen on March 08, 2013 at 09:12:54 PT
Heads Up, FoM and Hope
Our demo tracks are in your email.Love from Mr. and Mrs. Green
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on March 07, 2013 at 14:45:55 PT
Hope
You always do great! 
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on March 07, 2013 at 13:35:12 PT
These lawyer girls.
Chemo brain seems to ebb and flow like the tide and I've been wanting to say something about this article but couldn't find any words other than Dunderheads and Morons and that's not really a comment. I'm so glad some words finally came to me! Besides Dunderheads and Morons, that is.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on March 07, 2013 at 13:11:27 PT
FoM
I really don't think the zealous prohibitionists know that. They think it's bad and that's it. Some people have tried it and didn't like it. That's the way it is, and should be, with everything. It's the part where they go after everyone else to "protect" them or punish them that's wrong and has to stop. It's wonderful seeing the killers, thieves, and persecutors having to back off. I love that. Stopping cruel, hate filled, dangerous bullies is a righteous and cool thing to do.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on March 07, 2013 at 13:06:41 PT
 Alexandra White and Carolyn Witkus 
"Historically, it's been fairly easy to take a case to court with proof that a parent is illegally using drugs and limit that parent's contact with the children."Girls. Girls. Girls. That's what this is all about. Ending the unjust persecution of cannabis users.Good grief. You should know that of all people. Oh but you are the ones that use it against people. Right? And you don't want to stop?Tough.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 07, 2013 at 10:26:56 PT
Hope
If they lose control of cannabis laws they know people are more reasonable when they use cannabis and that is one reason they are afraid to let it happen. Remember Nixon saying what he said about Pot. Marijuana has always been associated with Democrats way more then Republicans. This is a mind opening substance and thinking and feeling people scare them.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on March 07, 2013 at 09:56:55 PT
FoM
I agree. And the money... arrgh. I want people to thrive and do well, but greed destroys.Sanity and truth on this matter. That's all we've ever needed.I'm still very concerned about where the fear and insanity of the prohibs is coming from. I've not figured it out and may never because there just doesn't seem to be any logic to it.To kill and persecute and imprison over use of the plant has baffled me for so long and I can still see no sane reason for it. I don't think there is one. I think we've had a bunch of lunatics, like I consider the Semblars and their crews to be, for one set of them, pushing this thing for so long that no one really knows why they are doing it. I can understand the a bit of concern and extra caution about heroin or home made meth, for instance, but I still don't see persecuting people for it's use like they do to be right. I certainly don't understand how they could kill and persecute even a dog over cannabis, in my wildest imagination.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 06, 2013 at 17:40:45 PT
Hope
If the money factor isn't in it anymore it might just become a non issue.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on March 06, 2013 at 17:39:52 PT
Hope
I have been watching Weed Country and even in the series it talks about how the price for growers is going back to what it sold for in th 70s. Slowly the price will drop and then tobacco companies will mass produce and that will make the price even lower. There will be a market for superior or cannabis that is specalized to help with a certain ailment like they have been doing in Israel for years. 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 06, 2013 at 17:36:10 PT
Hope
I have always believed change would come quietly and just happen.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on March 06, 2013 at 17:14:58 PT
Comment 9
Maybe Freedom makes a little tinkling sound instead of outright ringing. Decrim is better than nothing. And unanimously decriminalized, too. That's a step in the right direction, at least.
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Comment #12 posted by nike244sfvca on March 06, 2013 at 12:22:59 PT:
cannabis Petition needs votesetition needs votes
There is a new Petition on the white house website calling for a federal decriminalization of Cannabis. Pass the word.https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/federally-decriminalized-cannabis-so-it-may-be-used-medical-treatment-and-research/yd5TRn6J
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on March 06, 2013 at 09:22:42 PT
Comment 9
Whoo hoo!Freedom rings!
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Comment #10 posted by John Tyler on March 06, 2013 at 07:26:36 PT
better attitude needed
From the tone of this article it appears that some people still have some kind of bad attitude toward legal cannabis. They still view it as some kind of naughty activity. Get over it. It is legal now in Colorado and Washington. It is not naughty. It is good and wholesome. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 05, 2013 at 18:38:04 PT
Hawaii Senate Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana
By Anita Hofschneider,  Associated Press 
 Tuesday, March 5, 2013 HONOLULU (AP)  The Hawaii state Senate has voted unanimously to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. 
The state Senate approved the bill Tuesday. The proposal now goes to the House for consideration. 
The bill creates a civil violation for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Lawmakers added a $1,000 fine to emphasize that the use of marijuana is still illegal despite the shift from the criminal to the civil realm. 
Sen. Clayton Hee says the bill is designed to reduce the backlog in the criminal justice system. 
Law enforcement officials oppose the bill and say that decriminalization would make it harder to enforce the law against the drug. 
A related bill to legalize the drug died in the House earlier this session.Copyright: 2013 Associated Press
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on March 05, 2013 at 08:12:10 PT
wow
this article is fascinating. Of course these lawyers are leeching parasites, sucking the lifeblood of working, productive people and adding nothing to society. Breaking up families to take a third of the settlement.But this article is revealing. It shows the transition of the 1900's. Religious control of the people has been shifted from church to government.This article is basically the Church saying cannabis use is morally wrong. But they don't bring out a cleric and point to scripture. No, it's a pair of attorneys, who specialize in our web of Byzantine morality codes, I mean laws, enforced not by religious faith and belief but an army of militarized police.
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Comment #7 posted by Swazi-X on March 04, 2013 at 22:28:05 PT
Confuse the People,Obfuscate the Facts=Lawyer!
Right - so complex, so nuanced. Way more involved than any civilian could comprehend of course, so we must hire lawyers to decipher it for us.This little story is typical of the smoke and mirrors we hear from people who make a living off the confusion and fear people feel as they gradually get ground to hamburger in our legal system.We are just income to these jokers - and they like cannabis users because they are so docile. Perfect little soldiers to be fed into the system to someday be spit out, penniless and marked for life.Once you've educated yourself on this subject, you realize every objection to normalizing cannabis is borne of greed. Lies die hard when so many people are making so much money off them. Greed is always ugly, just like those who embrace it.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on March 04, 2013 at 18:28:34 PT
It is my opinion that;
There is no legislating common sense, intelligence, or upbringing.There is no law that can create industrious action out of slothful character -only experience can do that.There is no authority that can dictate domestic choices that are culturally and/or religiously acceptable but 'politically incorrect.'This article is "Reefer Midness" somewhere in the middle between madness and mild hysteria -all suppositions based on some undoubtedly non-experienced 'expert' whose degree is in Scientology.Journalism does not have an agenda, or a point to make. It has no argument. When did all these posers forget that?LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on March 04, 2013 at 18:13:17 PT
I know they are not concerned with families.
Lawyers send people off to prison. Prisons are reposnsible for destroying families.Asset Forfieture has destroyed more families than criminal orginizations which it suppose to be for [RICO]DEA Family hit squads have killed many fathers and some elders and children.How much damage does the actual herb cause to families? Little to none. It can even heal a family from an abusive and drinking father.These guys are evil.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on March 04, 2013 at 13:58:29 PT:
Enough with the boogeymen!
Bunch of high-priced ambulance chasers trying to drum up business the old fashioned way.A long time ago, when I was unemployed, I tried working for a company that sold subscriptions to a fire/security system, I left a day later after signing on when I learned of their sales techniques. Here's why:They had this book that they would carry around with them, but never mention during the sales pitch. The curious potential customers would eventually ask what the book was for, but the salesman was told not to tell them, act all coy, say things like "You really don't want to look in it." which was pure psych manipulation, of course. Sooner or later, though, curiosity would get the better of people, and they would ask to see the book,the book would be opened to reveal gruesome pictures of burned bodies and ruined houses.This isn't any better than that was. Trying to scare grown adults with an equivalent of boogeymen. Insulting!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 04, 2013 at 13:35:27 PT
Troubled Families
Troubled families need to work out what divides them and come to an understanding between each other. That is how it should happen in every aspect of married life. 
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on March 04, 2013 at 12:35:50 PT
I have a question for CSM!
How Is Illegal Meth Affecting Troubled Families?Do some study folks, instead of conjuring up fears, please!
Pot Law!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 04, 2013 at 11:11:05 PT
There's no mountain in the way of this progress.
This scenario... The article said it; legalize cannabis similar to alcohol. The writers are ok to bring up questions but some of them are obvious. Some of them are situations where people are going to take advantage of lawyers to take advantage of other people but that's a different subject.The example represents a couple who already has issues... If the wife drinks a little booze, she should be ok with the husband smoking a little cannabis. Growing it may inflate tensions in a home which already has problems. Perhaps the husband could give up the growing... but again, they already have issues and every situation is different.Custody of children when one parent smokes cannabis? It's legal; if the parent smokes cannabis and has children taken away, that would be against laws. Marriage is a state issue not federal; right?Custody when one parent grows? Legally grows??? Same thing. What if the parent was brewing a legal amount of beer or making a legal amount of wine?The legal production of beer or wine is a state issue in Colorado with its own state regulations, not federal. Right?Perhaps the CSM and Alexandra White and Carolyn Witkus don't have anything better to write about.We're going to see people try hard to make a mountain out of a pimple.-0-There will also be scenarios regarding cannabis legalization where families and family laws are better off but those make the pimple disappear; so let's not write an article about those...*The benefits families gain by legalizing cannabis are reasons for Oregon, California and Maine etc. to move forward.*And this article illustrates how legalizing cannabis may help people keep custody of their children, being one important one. -Divorce or not.
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