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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > Beyond the (Reefer) Madness: The Straight Truth About Marijuana and Child Custody in Tennessee

Beyond the (Reefer) Madness: The Straight Truth About Marijuana and Child Custody in Tennessee


If you are going to smoke weed, Tennessee is not the best place to do it.  Tennessee’s laws leave very little wiggle room for medical cannabis use.  The only cannabis product that Tennessee classifies as “medical cannabis” is CBD oil; anything that contains THC is plain old marijuana, an illegal drug even for people with health conditions that would allow them to grow, buy, or smoke medical cannabis in some other states.  Furthermore, Tennessee law contains no provisions for the legal sale of CBD oil; you must travel across state lines to purchase it.  It follows that consuming marijuana or other cannabis products in the presence of your minor children is a bad idea.  Even the 420-friendliest states frown on parenting while high, and in Tennessee the situation for cannabis-loving parents is even worse.  If you have ever consumed cannabis in front of your children, it can hurt your child custody case.  If your ex smokes weed in front of the kids, or if your ex is trying to vilify you by making your history of marijuana use an issue in your child custody case, contact a Tennessee child custody lawyer.

How Marijuana Affects Child Custody Cases

Marijuana use is illegal in Tennessee, and doing anything illegal, even if your children are not with you when you do it, will only give your ex the upper hand in a child custody dispute.  Context matters, though.  If your parenting time is on weekends, and you have smoked marijuana three times in the past year, always on weeknights when the children were not with you, then the fact that your ex found out about it at all reflects worse on your ex than it does on you.  If, however, your marijuana use could endanger your children, you can expect to see your parenting plan change, and not in your favor.  The following are examples of behaviors that make someone an irresponsible parent in the eyes of the family courts:

  • Driving under the influence of marijuana (or alcohol or any other intoxicating substance)
  • Leaving marijuana or CBD oil in a place where children can find it or open its container
  • Erratic behavior due to the effects of marijuana (for example, forgetting to pick up a child from school, or refusing to take a child to a scheduled playdate because of marijuana-related paranoia)

There are even horror stories about the Department of Children’s Services removing children from parents’ homes because an ex-spouse gave DCS a tip that the parent has a history of marijuana use and might have used it in the presence of the children.  Instead of letting your custody battle get that ugly, you should contact a Tennessee child custody lawyer to help you resolve your differences peacefully.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

A family law attorney will work for you to protect your children’s best interests.  Contact Knoxville child custody attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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