Jasmine Ramig: New Jersey Div. of Child Prot. & Permanency. D.H., 2021 N.J. Super. LEXIS 106
New Jersey Div. of Child Prot. & Permanency. D.H., 2021 N.J. Super. LEXIS 106 Jasmine Ramig Ruling In a recent New Jersey appellate case, the court held that recreational marijuana use cannot be the only or principal reason for terminating parental rights. The August 2, 2021 decision followed two trials and a previous appeal. Analysis The parents in this case, David H. and Thea H., appealed a decision by the second trial judge terminating their parental rights to their son. David timely appealed and argued, among other issues, that recreational marijuana use should not disqualify a person as a parent. David listed ten states that allow recreational marijuana use and another 20 states, including New Jersey, allowing medical marijuana use. If recreational marijuana use did disqualify a person as a parent he argued, the child welfare systems of those states would be quickly overwhelmed. Between the second trial decision in mid-December, 2019 and oral argument on the parents’ appeal on March 15, 2021, New Jersey’s laws regarding recreational marijuana use had changed considerably. The court pointed to this in support of its decision. In November 2020, voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana use, cultivation, and commercialization by adults 21 years of age or older. Then, in February 2021, the Legislature passed three bills comprising the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act to regulate the new industry and govern civil and criminal justice reforms. The first of the three bills provided that if a parent tests positive for marijuana, that cannot be “the sole or primary basis” for an action brought by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP). Instead, the DCPP must base an action against a parent “on harm or risk of harm to a child.” However, the DCPP may still use positive…
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Source : Jasmine Ramig: New Jersey Div. of Child Prot. & Permanency. D.H., 2021 N.J. Super. LEXIS 106
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