One of the many challenges that Michigan will face, if recreational marijuana is legalized later this year, will be changing the way CPS handles “pot cases.” In Michigan, while medical marijuana is legal, its use by children is still very rare, and very controversial. And that’s just for medical purposes. Any other exposure to a child of marijuana is taken very seriously!
A case that made the news a couple of months ago here in MIchigan is a classic example of how Michigan handles these types of situations. Someone reported suspected marijuana use to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and deputies showed up at the Eco Lodge to investigate. They located the room where pot was being smoked (simply by following their noses) and knocked on the door.
Three adults were getting high. And so were the kids in the room with them.
The woman who answered the door – 25-year-old Amber L. Miller – apologized to deputies about the smell, and invited them in. Once inside the room, they discovered 28-year-old Jeremy L. French, and 26-year-old Ashley M. Briggs. But while pot smoking is probably a legal issue all on its own (as none of the three were card carrying medical marijuana patients), the real issue was the three children in the room.
Stuck inside the unventilated motel room, getting high off the second hand smoke of their parents’ joints, were Miller’s 6-year-old son, and French’s 7- and 2-year-old daughters. As you can imagine, the end result wasn’t a party.
There will be repercussions for all three adults, and even for the children.
Miller was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant, but French and Briggs were allowed to walk free. Interestingly, French was given custody of the children, however officers made a referral to Child Protective Services. The following month, charges were filed against all three adults.
Both Briggs and Miller are charged with single counts of Fourth Degree Child Abuse, along with Possession of Marijuana. French is facing two counts of Fourth Degree Child Abuse, and one count of Marijuana Possession, second offense..
Michigan law is very clear on how alleged child abuse is to be handled.
Fourth Degree Child Abuse is a misdemeanor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a serious charge. In addition to the one year of jail time that’s possible, there is also the issue of CPS intervention. Smoking pot in front of your kids might only be a misdemeanor charge, but once CPS is involved in your life, you are up against a host of challenges!
Ideally, we recommend never smoking marijuana around children. It has been shown to be harmful to the development of their brains, but in addition, children don’t understand the difference between things that are okay for only adults to do, and things that are okay for everyone to do. (You have only to see how many kids smoke and drink to understand what we mean!)
If you’ve been accused of child abuse in Michigan, call us now!
Our skilled family law attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Midnight? No problem. Weekends? We’re here. Holidays? Yup. We know that life happens at all hours of the day and night, and we’re here to help. Call us at 866 766 5245. We’re available to help you sort out this difficult situation, and work towards a resolution that works for your family.