Just over a month ago, Michigan Child Protective Services officials removed Steve and Maria Green’s daughter Bree from the shocked parents’ home. The Greens’ offense: both were lawfully using marijuana to treat legitimate medical conditions — the drug helps control Steve’s epileptic seizures and Maria’s multiple sclerosis. On Friday, Ingham County Probate Judge Richard Garcia ordered Baby Bree returned to her family. According to the family’s attorney, the Greens will “medicate (with marijuana) but not around the children, just what they’ve been doing all along,” and Bree will be regularly tested with a mouth swab to ensure that she is not being exposed to the drug.
Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law, after 63 percent of voters approved a ballot initiative allowing its use in 2008. Under that initiative, patients who are legally authorized to use marijuana by their physician “shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege” by Michigan state authorities because of their use, cultivation or possession of a small amount of marijuana. Both Steve and Maria Green are lawful users under the Michigan law.
Though Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings would not directly cast aspersions upon the Green’s fitness as parents, he did say on Tuesday that “I would hope that any parents who have the need to use prescription medication would do so in a manner that does not expose their child to harm.” Dunnings is correct that parents should not expose their children to their own prescription drugs — and a parent who does so might quite reasonably lose custody over their children. But there is little more reason to assume that the Greens must be exposing their child to prescription marijuana than there is to assume that a patient with severe back pain is somehow dosing their child with Percocet.