The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed in 2008. It contained a provision to protect the families of medical marijuana patients from legal consequences, a step that the previous medical marijuana states did not envision. Section (4)(c) reads, “A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated."
That provision did not stop Child Protective Services (CPS) from taking away Bree Green, the six-month-old daughter of Steve and Maria Green. Maria is a patient with multiple sclerosis and a registered caregiver who was growing marijuana in a locked cultivation room in her home, in accordance with the law.
The case began with a custody dispute over another of Maria’s children, with whom she shares custody with her ex-husband. The ex claimed Maria’s home wasn’t fit for children since there was marijuana use going on. CPS got involved and sided with the ex-husband, ordering the removal of baby Bree on September 13.
Steve and Maria protested and the case was reviewed by Ingham Family Court Referee Rod Porter. Porter upheld the removal of baby Bree despite the medical marijuana law’s section (4)(c) protections. So what was the “unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated?"
Porter, when confronted by Michigan Marijuana News, replied, “It is reasonable to assume that marijuana is being grown in that home with children being present, and that is dangerous for children to be involved in that situation. We have homes being robbed at gunpoint -- by individuals who know that children are at home.”
If the possibility of a home invasion robbery is the standard for taking people’s kids, Michigan parents better take care not to keep any jewelry or electronics in the home. Those were the targets of a home invasion in Northwest Ottawa County just a week after Bree was taken by CPS. We were able to find through a Google News four more home invasion robberies in Michigan that occurred since Bree was taken -- one resulting in a murder and none apparently involving any home medical marijuana grows.
In 2008, medical marijuana passed in every single county in Michigan, even the ones that voted for John McCain. It passed with 63% of the vote. Certainly the people of Michigan didn’t intend a protection for medical marijuana-using parents to be valid only if they weren’t growing or using medical marijuana.