Utah Mom Faces Loss of Custody of Children for Cannabis Despite Being Legal Patient

Emily Roberts of Provo, Utah participated in a state-sanctioned study on CBD oil, and possesses a valid doctor’s recommendation to use medical cannabis, but despite all this, she may face the loss of custody of her children for testing positive for traces of THC found in the CBD oil. Now, she must make the choice whether to live in pain without CBD oil or lose custody.

For background, Utah legalized CBD oil for the terminally ill in 2018. The same year, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act legalized medical cannabis for certain illnesses. Roberts suffers from chronic pain, so she obtained a doctor’s recommendation which supposedly is intended to provide some level of protection from the law. 

Roberts took Endo-C, an experimental CBD gel capsule manufactured by Springville, Utah company founded by former U.S. Congressman Chris Cannon. A 2017 law in Utah allows companies—just like Endo-C—to conduct cannabis research under the supervision of a physician and an institutional review board. Judge Brent Bartholemew, a juvenile court judge based in Provo, claims that because dispensaries are not yet open in Utah, Roberts cannot consume THC even if it is in trace amounts, and despite it being under the direction of a doctor for the purposes of research.

Roberts’ daughters Hannah, four, and Geneva, two, are now in jeopardy of being thrust into state custody. Adding to the wound, Roberts’ parenting abilities have been unjustly questioned. “He doesn’t understand the new medical cannabis law, and he’s denying me my legal ability to use this medicine and to be a better mom without so much pain that I now have,” Roberts told Fox 13. “All I want is to be healthy and to keep raising my precious girls in peace, and the government is stopping me from doing both.”

Diane Moore, the Director of Utah Child and Family Services, provided a statement on behalf of the program. “We understand that cannabis use is a complex and evolving issue that can affect children and families,” she stated. “Our focus is on any parent behavior that affects their ability to safely care for their child, not the use of a substance. For us to be involved with a family, there must be evidence that harm or the threat of harm to a child exists.”

Removal of Roberts’ custody appears to be a longshot, if prosecutors must prove that the CBD oil did indeed provide “evidence of harm” to the children.

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