In another case of bureaucratic overreach sparked by fear of pot, authorities in Michigan have removed a 6-month-old girl from her parents because the mother uses medical marijuana.
Cannabis advocates have rallied behind the case of Gordon “Steve” and Maria Green of Lansing, whose infant daughter, Brielle “Bree” Green, was taken on Sept. 13 by Children’s Protective Services.
Supporters held a news conference three days earlier, waving signs and chanting “Free Bree.” Charmie Gholson, founder of Michigan Moms United, one of the groups behind the press conference, said this case is only one of many in which the state has tried to remove children from their parents in violation of protections provided by the 5-year-old medical marijuana law.
“There’s nowhere to go when (Children’s Protective Services) does this,” Gholson said. “When they took Bree on Friday, that really was the last straw.”
“These are good parents, good, loving parents,” she said.
Decision to Remove Bree From The Home
Bree Green was ordered removed from her home on Sept. 13 by an Ingham County Family Court referee. The decision was based on a petition by Children’s Protective Services caseworkers, who wanted Bree taken because Maria Green grows medical marijuana in her home.
On Sept. 18, a probate judge upheld the referee’s decision but granted the Greens visitation rights.
Steve Green said the referee reasoned the marijuana created a dangerous environment because “someone with a gun could break in.”
The Green’s Case
The case arose from a family dispute involving a child of Maria Green and her ex-husband. The ex-husband complained to Children’s Protective Services that the Green home was unfit for children, Steve Green said.
When caseworkers arrived at the home, the Greens refused to let them enter their grow room without a court order, as a provision of the state’s medical marijuana law prevents more than one person from accessing it at a time. The caseworkers then petitioned the court to remove the child.
“That put (the parents) between a rock and a hard place – either you break the law or we take your children away,” Joshua Covert, a lawyer for the Greens, told the Lansing State Journal.
Bree Green has been staying with a relative.
Violation of Medical Marijuana Laws
Voters approved the Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative in 2008, yet it has run into confusion and resistance from state government ever since. Early this year, the state Supreme Court outlawed patient-to-patient sales of weed, effectively shutting down every dispensary in Michigan.
Gholson said she knows of about 20 cases in the past year where caseworkers violated the medical marijuana law in the process of removing children from their homes.