When a good mom who is still active in the lives of her children loses custody for having cancer, I have to wonder how a dad with epilepsy who smokes "medical marijuana" AND has a past run-in with CPS for "spanking" (probably an assault for CPS to even look at it before ignoring it) got custody to start with. But all kinds of horrible fathers get custody/visitation in Michigan all the time: John Skelton, Steven Nicholson, Richard LaBo, Elmer Braman, Jose Oliva-Rosa, Joe Galvan....
Medical marijuana could cost epileptic man custody of daughter
Posted: Jun 28, 2011 2:15 PM CDT Updated: Jun 28, 2011 2:15 PM CDT
A Michigan father is in jeopardy of losing custody of his 10-year-old daughter, all because he can legally smoke marijuana.
Livingston Thompson Jr. has epilepsy.
He's been dealing with it for 20 years, and according to him, nothing has really helped except for the marijuana.
"It relaxes me. I'm not as stressed. I discovered that my epileptic seizures -- some of them are stress activated," says Thompson.
Still, his medication of choice could cost him his daughter, Shylynn.
"If I lost custody of my daughter it would crush me. They'd probably see a lot more episodes," he says.
That's something Shylynn can't handle.
"If my daddy lost custody of me I'd be sad, just as sad as he would be if he lost custody of me. Because my dad has had me for ten years. And I don't want to lose my dad," says Shylynn.
Last year, Thompson spanked his daughter and Child Protective Services was called.
It was decided that Shylynn wasn't in any danger and could return home, but Thompson now has to get periodic drug testing.
"I explained to the judge that should be modified because my client has a medical marijuana card," says attorney Charles Ford.
The judge has decided that marijuana is not the best treatment for his epilepsy and that it's in the best interest of the child that the parents are drug free.
The bigger question here is, with a state law that's so unclear, could other parents fall into the same situation?
"If he tested positive there's a strong possibility that he could lose his child," says Ford.
Thompson says this is a fight he can't afford to lose.
"I don't want to lose my family," adds Shylynn.
Thompson can choose to appeal the judge's decision.
He can make the case that his medical marijuana does not impair his judgment as a father and that he needs it for his medical condition.
If he doesn't appeal, then he has to stop using, otherwise she could be taken from the household.
An appeal would be precedent-setting because this is really the first time a judge has interpreted the law like this.
If the decision stands, then similar cases could have the same outcome.