Judge: Medical marijuana user can get custody of daughter

Jan. 29, 2014 at 5:23 PM
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SPOKANE, Wash., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A judge in Washington state says a man should not be denied custody of his daughter because he uses medical marijuana for chronic back pain.

Billy Fisher enjoyed a visit by his daughter, Lilly, for the first time on Tuesday, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.

"My daughter is coming home," the construction worker said.

Fisher's ex-wife had lost custody of the 16-month-old, who was placed in foster care. Because the couple separated before Lilly's birth, the Department of Health and Social Services set a number of conditions on his gaining custody, including parenting classes.

But Fisher fought one condition, that he get treatment for drug abuse. He argued that taking opiates for the pain would actually make him less fit as a parent than marijuana.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark ruled in his favor on the drug treatment. The department says it will not appeal her decision.

"The purpose of treatment is to help the person stop using the substance, and here Mr. Fisher has a valid reason and medical prescription for using marijuana," Clark said. "He does not intend to stop using, and if he has no other method of dealing with his pain, stopping the use may result in other physical complications."

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