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Bill would make it easier to remove children from homes of medical pot patients

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Medical marijuana advocates are blasting new legislation in Lansing that would make it easier to remove children from the homes of patients. 

Senate Bill 736 would allow judges to inspect personal medical records to determine if marijuana use is appropriate. If they decide that it’s not appropriate, they could order the patient to stop using cannabis or deem them unfit parents or guardians.

“It’s rather gray in the law what the judges can consider when it comes to custody matters or placement of children,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

Jones says he introduced the bill after hearing complaints from judges.

“They want it clarified that they do have the power, as judges, to consider whether or not there’s medical marijuana in the home and that there will be access to children and problems,” he said.

Medical marijuana advocates say the legislation would violate the privacy of state-certified patients and skirt the voter-approved law that made cannabis legal for medicinal use in Michigan. They also say it unfairly singles out medical marijuana patients by ignoring other substances that may be harmful to children.

“I find it troubling because it seems to circumvent what the people of the state of Michigan supported when we enacted the Medical Marijuana Act in 2008 as a voter initiative,” said attorney Josh Covert.

Covert recently represented medical marijuana patients Steve and Maria Green who had their six-month-old daughter removed by Child Protective Services. She was later returned to her family after a highly-publicized court battle.

Jones says the bill is not a reaction the Green case.

Michigan Radio’s Noah Gordon contributed to this report.