Medical Cannabis and Use around Children

As the number of registered medical cannabis patients in Illinois rises, the law as it is written, is scrutinized by outside sources, including the Department of Children and Family Services.

Section (30) of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act prohibits registered patients from knowingly “using” medical cannabis “in close proximity to anyone under the age of 18 years of age” (410 ILCS 130/30(a) (3)(G)).  However, the act does not define “close proximity.”

These proximity requirements have yet to be interpreted by the courts and do not take into consideration the use of edible or other forms of medical cannabis.  “Attorney Dina Rollman of Rollman & Dahlin LLP says,’ that in the absence of guidance from the courts, a ‘common sense reading’ of the Act is best.  In her view, common sense would dictate that parents not inhale, ingest, or otherwise use medical cannabis in front of a minor, and parents should also be sure to store their cannabis out of reach of children.” (Illinois Bar Journal April 2016 Vol 104 NO.4 “Cannabis Ambivalence” page 14).

At this time, there are not legal penalties built into the act but it is predicated that if someone lodged a complaint with DCFS regarding the use of medical cannabis around a minor, an investigation would occur.  It is also predicted that in a contested custody proceeding, if one parent made allegations about the other regarding their use or possible abuse or medical cannabis around a minor it could have a negative consequence for them in the custody dispute.

As the laws are developing and evolving in Illinois regarding the use of medical cannabis, it can be assumed that more domestic cases will have to interpret these laws.  It will be interesting to see how the law evolves and develops over the next couple of years, particularly when it comes family and children.

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