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Name: In re Alexis E.
Case #: B207752
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/23/2009

Father’s previous use of marijuana prior to medical recommendation was sufficient to demonstrate a history of substance abuse. Father appealed from jurisdictional findings that he had a history of substance abuse and that his current use of medical marijuana placed the children at risk of harm. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the petition based on father’s history of domestic violence. However, the court addressed the issue regarding the use of marijuana, finding that father’s medical marijuana recommendation did not come into existence until long after father began using marijuana, which supported the finding of substance abuse. Further, father used marijuana when the children were present, which presented a risk to the minors. Although the court acknowledged that use of medical marijuana without more evidence could not support a jurisdiction finding, there was more evidence present here which supported the court’s finding that the minors were at risk. Father also challenged the order which required him to attend drug counseling, contending that it required him to choose between his legal right to use medical marijuana and his ability to reunite with the minors. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that father did not necessarily have to forego the use of medical marijuana. Drug counseling was appropriate because the manner in which father had been using marijuana presented a risk to the minors.