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"One rule is that you need to make sure that you are not impaired as a parent," Lindsey says. "That's no different than alcohol. The department of family services in any state does not want parents that are so drunk that they can't take care of their children. That does not mean parents can't have a glass of wine."
Another rule: Keep pot where kids can't easily get to it. "Parents aren't expected to have a gun safe for their medicine. But a marijuana cookie shouldn't be kept on the bottom shelf. There's a line there."
When all else fails—and it often does for poor parents and parents of color—it's important to frame these incidents in a way people who don't use marijuana can understand. Not too long ago Lindsey had a case similar to the Rineharts'. A teenage girl was staying with a sitter while her parents were out of town. One day she snuck back to her house without her sitter's knowledge, and stole a few of her parents' marijuana edibles, which she then took to school. All hell broke loose when she got caught, and her parents came under fire.
"When children do things that they know they're not supposed to do, to what extent are parents culpable for that? You can't chain your kids to the bedpost at night," Lindsey says. "In that case I argued that we've got a young child who raided the liquor cabinet."
It's been more than two weeks since Laustin and Elijah Rinehart were taken from their parents. Thanks to an understanding social worker, the Rineharts now get to have the boys after school until 6 p.m., when they are returned to their foster home. Unless the district attorney decides to press felony charges against Lindsey and Josh, they're likely to get their kids back.
"Not treating with cannabis does suck though," she wrote on Facebook. "Pain levels are rising, muscle spasms, 'sagging' around right side of my mouth is starting, same with my right eye."
It's a compromise she's willing to make, but shouldn't have to, says Reiman. "What has happened to those kids as a result of being taken from their home and put in foster care? That needs to be measured against the impact of living with a parent who uses medical marijuana."