NORML Partners with The Family Law & Cannabis Alliance


It’s no secret that there has been a proliferation government agencies across the country removing minors and infants from their home, based solely on the fact that a parent is a cannabis consumer, and the false presumption that the presence of marijuana poses a danger.  This even occurs in states with a legal medical marijuana program, or where marijuana possession is no longer a criminal offense.  Some of these experiences can be incredibly traumatic to the child, as well as the parents, as officers have a tendency to use aggressive and sometimes militaristic tactics while engaging with these families.

FLCAlogo_innerbottomtxt_smallNORML receives dozens of calls and emails every month from devastated parents who have lost custody of their children to state agencies, and we remain committed to providing support and resources to those forced into these unfortunate circumstances.  In light of such efforts, we are pleased to announce that NORML has recently partnered with the newly formed Family Law and Cannabis Alliance (FLCA), founded by longtime drug reform activists Jess Cochrane and Sara Arnold.  The FLCA is an informational clearinghouse that provides educational resources, advocacy information and legal referrals geared  toward reformers & affected families on the crossover of marijuana laws & the child protection system.

Sabrina Fendrick, Director of Women’s Outreach said, she is “looking forward to working with the Family Law and Cannabis Alliance to raise awareness about the devastating effects, and sometimes dangerous practice, of child services in removing children from their safe and loving homes for the mere fact a parent is a cannabis consumer.  It is time to end this destructive policy, and put an end to marijuana prohibition once and for all.”

Click here for more information on the Family Law and Cannabis Alliance.

36 thoughts

  1. Glad to hear this. Parents losing their kids over marijuana has been one of the issues that has bothered me the most about prohibition. It should open everyone’s eyes to what a police state we have become. It is also good to see NORML alligning itself with all these other organization if we are all united it will make our victory even easier.

  2. It is hard for me to comprehend why people would want to traumatize families because someone uses medical cannabis. The ridiculous part is that had the parent been drinking, verbally abusive, or just a bad caregiver the powers that be probably wouldn’t have said, or done, anything. I love America, but I don’t understand it at times.


  4. This is a tragedy in our nation. President Obama should have Marijuana fully investigated for any harmful affects of cannibis. Once they do, and tell the truth about cannibis, the U.S. Government should be sued by these devastated families for lying to Americans all this time and destroying their lives. This is just as bad as a child losing a father or mother in an auto accident. All other previous Presidents, DEA, police officers, child welfare should ALL be ashamed of themselves as they were part of the lies and devastation of families. Doesn’t anyone have a heart. Are we North Korea or the United States of America? When are the leaders of our nation going to set a good example? What a disgrace. Its better now than 20 years ago but its still happening.

  5. What can scare Big 2WackGo (and Alcohol and pHARMa) more than to see any parent with impunity let any child know there is a safer alternative to H-ot B-urning O-verdose-onoxide nicotine $igarettes?

    Confession: I am a grandparent-divorced father. The grandparents apparently were united behind a view expressed on the phone by my mother-in-law, “We were afraid you would impose a marijuana culture on the children.” They helped find and finance an out-of-town place for the mother and children to move. Some may say, in those days culture and relatives got the job done without involving bureaucrats as the current issue here.

  6. Tyranny in all forms must be opposed. Cannabis never should have been illegal in the first place. There is some progress being made, such as in Washington state and Colorado, but these state governments are often schizophrenic; they restore liberty with one hand but take it away with the other. Colorado is the classic example of this. They legalized weed, which is good, but then passed draconian gun control laws, which is bad. It was good to see the people rise up and remove those two senators from office for their treason against the right to keep and bear arms, they had it coming to them. Doing only a half ass job of upholding liberty is no liberty at all, either you uphold all of it or you uphold none of it. We have far too many democrats who are pro-weed but anti-gun, and far too many republicans who are pro-gun but anti-weed. Neither of these will suffice, we need people in office who will uphold both.

  7. I’m a legal medical marijuana patient in my state. About 9 years ago, my kids were stolen by the state. it took me 11 months, parenting, drug, domestic violence victim classes, and dealing with my ex(who is/caused the reason I have a card) to get them back. I never stopped my medical marijuana use. Some of the counselors didn’t think I needed to be there expect for the drug counselor….they went through 3 different counselors while I was forced to go. I got one to relapse on tobacco before she quit the next quit within 2-3 weeks, and the last one let me graduate the class. I used facts about mj while they tried those scarey myths. This did wonders to my PTSD, it caused all of us to get PTSD over the bs we went through. my kids were 4 and 6 years old when taken. I got them physically back, but they haven’t been the same since.

  8. If that’s the case, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands because we have to take kids out of the homes with Alcohol! Stands to reason since it is more dangerous. Let’s see… marijuana = zero deaths / alcohol = hundreds of thousands of deaths. Definitely time for change.

  9. My oldest son was taken from me for 13 months for smoking marijuana. I had to do 13 months of drug and alcohol which i dont drink or even take prescriptions for lupus and fibromyalgia. Ill never forget the pain they caused my family. I faught long and hard to get him back. Glad to see this happening. My family is back together and we added 3 more kiddos. Children services tried to knock on my door last year again i just paid a lawyer to do all the talking and she wouldnt allow any tests. My son was 2 when this happend hes now 10 and hes an advanced student and im one proud mommy stoned or not.

  10. Another vainglorious prohibitionist perfidy. This time against families and children. Do they still even pretend to themselves that they’re the good guys?

    I saw a prohibitionist debate someone from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) on CNN yesterday. She parroted the same tired rhetoric we’ve all heard for decades. She assured us that those 58% of Americans who think cannabis should be legal will quickly come to their senses.

    I had to ask myself, what was this woman smoking?

  11. Thank you Sabrina! Thank you NORML, Jess Cochrane and Sara Arnold: May God bless you all. The mission of the FLCA is nothing less than sending angels into the forsaken heart of prohibition. What are we donating and writing Congress for if not to prevent the evil theft of child custody from those who use nonviolent cannabis for medicine by state sanctioned agencies that place innocent children in violent private foster care for profit?
    @Grandma 3D, I learned about the case of Alex Hill from this web blog months ago. Its a horrific tragedy, but I’m not sure if the case is still pending. I will contact the parents lawyer to at least inform them of the new FLCA. You can also donate to the We cannot as Americans stand idley by while our governmment carries out this criminal injustice of child and family abuse. With the FLCA around, there simply is no excuse not to donate them or NORML. No matter how little we can afford to give, this must end.

  12. I once read a booklet written many years ago, long before the advent of the internet, titled “The Social Service Gestapo.” People thought I was a “radical anti-government conspiracy theorist” for reading stuff like that. I don’t think they’d be calling me that now, in fact a lot of people who used to think that have now realized that I was right and I’m not such a “nut” after all!

  13. I am a single father with 2 children. I was diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma November 2012 and completed chemotherapy June 2013. I used my own supply of marijuana after talking it over with my oncologist to help with appetite and nausea. I wasn’t able to receive a NJ medical marijuana card because my primary physician wouldn’t sign up for the NJ medical marijuana program because he feared legal issues. I am now being harassed by New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services. My children were temporarily removed from the home and were traumatized by the action. I also felt I wasn’t treated with dignity. I have the kids back in the home but I still have an open case because of the marijuana and they are trying to force me to go drug rehabilitation.

  14. You have to look at the history of the United States when it comes to the minority attempting to control the majority. It didn’t start with but definitely included the acts of the plantation owners of the south attempting to control the slave trade even when the majority was opposed. In a more recent example; the conservative (tea party) republicans holding their own party in check; due to self-serving motivations of a few low ranking members. Now the mighty DEA and it political attachments are in their final death throws; but I assure you- their outdated fear mongering ways will not fall silently or gracefully.
    Democracy = The will of the People (Majority)

    Be well, Brother Louie

  15. @Julian, saying Thank you to NORML is great, but could you and all the other bloggers as well. Open your checkbooks and send NORML a nice fat check. Or why not pledge to send money to NORML every month. Do if for all they have done for us; 40 years of tireless, diligent,and sedulous work. I know for some,money is really tight,with how bad the economy is. I am on a tight budget as well. However,I pledge to NORML $20,a month. That is only .67 cents a day. Surely you can afford that. Help NORML Help Us. No,I am not an employee of NORML. However, I am a political activist for NORMl, and several other causes I support.

  16. The presumption that the presence of marijuana in the home poses a danger,not including where it is kept– hopefully in a protected place(yet alone merely being a user) Is absurd What about where the beer or the whiskey in the refrigerator is,household cleaners,solvents,pharmaceutical prescriptions,electrical appliances

    This is the aftermath of the Zero Tolerance hysteria that was so fashionable in the media a few years ago,and they played it to the extreme…the focus was on the crack babies in the inner cities and marijuana was swept right along with it and put in the same category. Hopefully some of this can be reversed if it’s not too late.

    i also heard that children are often put on antidepressant and sleep medications to alleviate the stress and trauma from being removed from their families.I can understand them being taken if they are being abused,beaten or malnourished,but, only for having a parent that is a cannabis smoker?…WRONG

  17. @Sabrina Fendrick – You are a hero in my opinion. It is vitally important to let people know this kind of thing is going on. Unless the parents are abusive or dangerous to their children in some way they are better off staying with them. It is idiotic in the extreme to think that just because one or more parents use marijuana (for any reason) that they are unfit parents!

  18. I don’t know where else to post this but I have an idea for fund raising that I hope everyone will find interesting.

    I suggest that the artists out there come up with some unique quality cannabis related artwork that NORML could then auction off to raise funds!

    So painters, glass blowers, and other artists – how about it? To the right person, a single piece of art can be worth millions!

    NORML – is this something you’d be interested in giving a try? After all, 99% of this legalization effort seems to revolve around the almighty dollar; even though it should be revolving around right and wrong…

  19. You have to look at the history of the United States when it comes to the minority attempting to control the majority. It didn’t start with but definitely included the acts of the plantation owners of the south attempting to control the slave trade even when the majority was opposed. In a more recent example; the conservative (tea party) republicans holding their own party in check; due to self-serving motivations of a few low ranking members. Now the mighty DEA and it political attachments are in their final death throws; but I assure you – their outdated fear mongering ways will not fall silently or gracefully. The 1 % (Minority)has been involved and continues to evolve these practices it up to us(Majority) to stand against this oppression.
    Democracy = The will of the People (Majority)

  20. This is cruel and unusual punishment for both the parents AND the children. How is this constitutional?

  21. @Elaine is going in a good direction, make the pro-cannabis cause work-related, to “medicinal” and “recreational” add OCCUPATIONAL. I would place practical works like carpentry– especially STORAGE SHELVES (made out of scrap lumber, no paying anyone to kill a tree) for the good stuff rescued from discard that genial imaginative cannabis users will know how to repair or make into something good. That will be an auction that gets some respect (and well deserved money).

  22. What is inspiring about the FLCA is how they are bravely standing UP TO the most evil forces of our government hiding behind the C.S.Act– while standing UP FOR for the most afflicted and victimized of our citizens; Take note, that when we allow innocent children to be stripped from their loving parents in the name of a non-violent drug, we ALL lose our civil liberties.
    The DEA and the C.S.Act has made it so easy to prosecute and win custody for marijuana posession charges that in cases where alcoholism is involved the parents (or children) will not get adequate treatment and instead get charged with expensive, covert illegal drug charges. All this while legal prescription drugs have become the third largest cause of death in the U.S. right behind legal Tobacco and legal Alcohol.
    In Texas, 4-year-old Alexandra Hill was murdered this year by her foster mother in RoundRock after her parents admitted to smoking marijuana “after bedtime,” and lost custidy. Around the same time this year, the Travis County District Attorney in Austin is STILL employed after being caught driving up the wrong way of Loop 360 in Austin with a half-empty bottle of vodka and some legal, prescription medication! DA Rosemary Lehmberg only spent 15 days in jail after being caught stumbling drunk on the police dash-cam pushing and yelling violently at the aprehending officer. Put THAT in your state-of-the-union address Governor Perry…
    Even worse, in cases where sting operations are involved, (such as the deplorable case of special ed students being urged to purchase marijuana by covert agents from the LAPD who feigned friendship with disabled children to gain quotas), local foster care is not prepared for the covert population of child victims of law enforcement, and too often end up on the floor of juvenile detention centers, punished for no other reason than their parents being charged with marijuana posession. This has been going on in nearly every state for forty years now!
    But now there is hope: NORML is partnering with the FLCA to make a difference. I already knew the Marijuana Policy Project was teaming up with NORML to create a lobby in Austin, Texas, and we need the network. We’re up against a network of terror from our own government: The DEA has corrupted every U.S. agency from local Child Protective Services to the Department of Health and Human Services. All of these agencies from the Department of Justice and more was consolidated under the Department of Homeland Security under the Bush Administration. It only seems logical that pro-cannabis non-for-profits have to join forces and do the same.
    I’m SO greatful there is a consolidation and cooperation of good forces in the battle against prohibition. There are so many good organizations to choose from to donate to… but with those of us on a tight budget, those choices can quickly get overwhelming. I was disappointed when I couldn’t make the deadline yesterday to donate to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition so they can produce and edit their film against drug probition. LEAP is vital to our cause. The majority of Americans now have our ears tuned in for the lies about the drug wars; it’s time for documentaries to supply the truth.
    Cooperation between pro-cannabis organizations like the FLCA with NORML is also vital. Its too easy to fall victim to fractionalizing cannabis rhetoric, especially when our elected officials write us to say “hemp will deter DEA efforts to eradicate marijuana.” How ironic Senator Cornyn would say that when his response acknowledges what the Controlled Substance Act does not; that there is a difference between hemp and marijuana after all. This hypocrisy has lead me to focus my efforts of Texas marijauna legalization on hemp, while keeping my eye on the developing murder case of Alex Hill.
    I was reading one of my posts over that issue and realized I was becoming too polarized between my donations to and NORML. The last thing I want is for cannabis activists to take sides over issues; we need to join forces and pick our battles when the time is right, state to state.
    But what about the Drug Policy Alliance? What is NORML’s relationship with them? While the FLCA is representing or at least assisting people in cases where states take violent, unconstitutional custody of children where parents are using non-violent marijuana in non-vilolent homes, the DPA is taking the fight directly to the DEA.
    At the source of prohibition’s evil, the DEA has been fabricating evidence in their recently disclosed S.O.D. program, encouraging other agencies in the government (including CPS) to use false or trumped up drug charges to prosecute parents and separate families. With so much evidence being revealed against the Justice Department and so many victims of the drug wars, it really takes a network of non-for-profits to fight for justice.
    Here’s my question:
    Is there any way for the DPA, the FLCA and like-minded non-for-profits such as the DPA to coordinate and watch eachother’s backs under some kind of “NORML” umbrella?
    It sure would make donating a little easier.
    Thanks NORML.

  23. On the 10th of October I had received my medical marijuana endorsement and I have been partaking ever since !.My appetite has increased by 30 to 50% , I’m not super anxious or worried about being incarcerated for treating my disease !. I do however feel like Towlie from South Park though !.

  24. Actually it might surprise you to know — knee jerk anti-communist rhetoric aside — that marijuana is legal in North Korea DPRK and nobody in that counrty gets their children taken away for pot. Thw sad truth is that the united States is less free than Noth Korea on marijuana issues. It is simply incorrect to assume that the DPRK takes a drg warrior position. It is our counrtry which is unfree not the DPRK. Sorry stoner McCarthyites.

  25. @Ben – The Science for Stoners article is interesting so thanks for sharing. I once participated in a blog where about 99% of the participants (not at all unusual) were for marijuana legalization. Someone once asked the question: “How can marijuana be abused?”

    My simple answer is that the DEA and various law enforcement agencies do it every day!

  26. — 10 years ago i got arrested for a quarter pound ( i really had a half pound but the other quarter pound doesn’t exist says the pigs or my 500 bucks)at the same time my wife was giving birth they took our newborn the first month or life and never let us have her again 20 thousand dollars and 10 years later i fought but lost horribly – while i was trying to get my first child back my wife got pregnant again my parents who i never got along with offered to let her have the baby their in Florida while we fight for our daughter in the Midwest they new the situation and it was their idea every time i insisted to go get my son in Florida they said just fight for your daughter your son is safe – a year and a half later i realized the massive amount of money for court and lawyers and the physiological evaluations and parenting class and anger management was to much to do ALL OVER AGAIN i had already done them ALL twice i insisted i get my son back in Florida and went to florida — 3 days before i get their they filed abandonment on me and my wife THEY LIED –
    —- last week our youngest son the only child out of three that i have not lost because of weed ,, they showed a drug film in my sons 4th grade class – 2 days later they knocked at my door with police i convinced them their was no weed at our house and let them search — i have just started a very good job but i am terrified of loosing my youngest son because i am viewed as a criminal i am very seriously considering quitting the best job i have ever had just to move to Denver

  27. I EXPLAINED THAT PART WRONG CORRECTED IN CAPITAL LETTERS — last week our youngest son the only child out of three that i have not lost because of weed ,, they showed a drug film in my sons 4th grade class – 2 days later they knocked at my door with police AND DFS i convinced them their was no weed at our house and let them search —(( DO YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID HERE THEY SHOW A DRUG FILM IN CLASS THEM ASK THE KIDS ABOUT THEIR PARENTS THEN COLLECT INFO FROM QUESTIONING YOUR CHILD WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE , THEN SHOW UP AT YOUR HOUSE AND IF YOU DONT CO-OPERATE THREATEN TO TAKE YOUR BABY AND THROW YOU IN JAIL )) i have just started a very good job but i am terrified of loosing my youngest son because i am viewed as a criminal i am very seriously considering quitting the best job i have ever had just to move to Denver

  28. @freekkc I am so sorry your family have suffered such Unbelievable cruelty,totally unjustified mental torcher,and for traumatizing your whole family. It is literally making me sick to my stomach. It is so unfair and shameful of the US to treat human beings like this.Your experience and all the other bloggers who’s children were stolen by the US government,are prime example’s of why the laws have to be changed. This makes me want to leave the US and move to Canada or Italy.

  29. @grandma3d – thanks you its good to know some people do care – what me and my wife have been through with dfs and our outside family`s(her parents and my parents teaming up against us to side with dfs because they believe cannabis is a dangerous drug) just because i smoke cannabis i wouldn’t wish on anyone and the sick part is i have read or seen videos on the internet of other people that have gone through worse with dfs no one should have to go through this – the amount of money and personal time from your life and nonstop stress and fear of potentially losing your child makes fighting them very difficult especially when like my first experience with dfs 10 years ago i didn’t understand all the legal stuff and made many mistakes trying to argue with them before acquiring a lawyer which of course they used against me – its disgusting that anyone should have to go through this i will never get the image out of my head of my wife crying nonstop for the first couple years she has never been the same person

  30. @freekkc
    Why don’t you get a lawyer from NORML? They specialize in Cannabis cases. Maybe you could get one who will do your case, Pro-bono.
    Again, I am so sorry for you and your family having your lives destroyed like this, just because you want to smoke pot. It is outrageous. I will pray for you too. Yeah, I am a Christian cannabis smoker,but I am not a bible thumper. Cannabis is one of God’s gifts, a miracle herb, but you probably know that already. Good luck to you, your wife, and children. Poor babies.

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