In the last few weeks, it seems as if everyone has jumped on to the cannabis bandwagon. The news media is full of stories with Canadians ($$ in their heads) gleefully rubbing their hands together in anticipation of new opportunities to profit in a whole new sector of the economy.
A recent story in the Globe and Mail highlighted particularly lawyers who were entering the newfound cannabis speciality. The corporate law departments of some of our largest law firms have now introduced Cannabis law as a new sub-speciality.
A recent article in one of our professional publications, The Lawyer’s Daily, suggested that anyone who has practised family law for more than a few months will have ceased to be a stranger to substance use and abuse… (in the course of our files, not personally!).
Perhaps. Historically, marijuana use has sometimes entered into the fray in divorce or separation disputes, especially when parenting of children is involved. It can also be a prominent concern to Children’s Aid Societies. Harder drugs such as cocaine use …. most definitely a major concern in both cases.
Cannabis In Family Law
But as a family law lawyer, I am racking my brains to try to find some higher connection between the work that I do and the new cannabis laws so that I too can make a career move to integrate cannabis – figuratively speaking– into my family law practice. I don’t practice criminal law, which would have been the obvious speciality in past years when cannabis users were involved. Criminal lawyers are still busy with drug trafficking charges and will presumably be kept busy if charges are brought when the laws and regulations regarding the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis are not followed.
I don’t practice corporate law. I won’t be incorporating new companies engaged in the cultivation or marketing of cannabis products. I don’t practice tax law. My four lawyer–associates practice employment law and for their practices, there will be issues regarding cannabis use and the workplace no doubt.
The best that I have been able to come up with so far: (although I have yet to encounter the new cannabis law as an issue in my files):
- Will marijuana use, even if legal, still be raised with respect to ability to parent a child? Will it be raised over custody and access issues? Second-hand tobacco smoke has for some time been recognized as a health factor for children.
- What if a parent is engaged in marijuana cultivation, whether personally (even if within the four-plant limits of the legislation) or as an employee of a company?
- Is cannabis an asset when we deal with property division? (I hope not.)
- Growing operations may decrease the value of the home. Will this become a factor in property division?
- Will the amount of money spent on marijuana use and cultivation be a factor in support claims?
- Will interests in marijuana based corporations have to be valued and how?
Cauliflower In Family Law
Cauliflower is a bit easier. It has become the new substitute for carbohydrates and, among other forms, even comes as a substitute pizza crust. I understand that it can be reduced to rice-like pellets as a starch substitute. I can’t figure out any family law “angle” for cauliflower yet. We have already seen quinoa and bran-based products come and go. May be the same for cauliflower before I come up with a family law use. Stay tuned!