More states consider allowing students to take medical marijuana at school
- The mother of a New Mexico elementary school student is hoping the state legislature takes a fresh look at policies related to students’ access to medical marijuana at school, according to KOB.
- Medical marijuana allowed the 10-year old, who has undifferentiated schizophrenia, PTSD and ADHD, to begin attending school four years ago, complete his schoolwork, and interact with other students. But last fall, the Estancia Municipal Schools informed her that her son could no longer take the medication at school.
- The state’s Medical Cannibis Program was created in 2007, but has not been updated since then, according to the article.
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but that doesn’t mean students who depend on the drug to ease symptoms can go to the nurse’s office at school to take their regular dose. According to a 2016 report from the Education Commission of the States, only Colorado, New Jersey, Maine and Washington state were allowing medical marijuana to be administered at school. In Washington, the state was leaving the decision up to local schools. And in general, parents or caregivers — not school employees — administer the substance, which can complicate life for working parents.
A recent Illinois case, however, has increased attention to the dilemmas of parents who want their children to attend school with their peers, but know that that medical marijuana helps control conditions such as epileptic seizures or Tourette’s syndrome. But school leaders, however, have been concerned that they would be in violation of drug laws. In January, the parents of a girl with leukemia sued the Schaumberg School District 54 when officials said the girl could no longer wear her marijuana patch and use cannabis oil at school. A federal judge ruled in their favor, but for now, the ruling only applies to the one family.
A bill in the California legislature would allow students with severe disabilities and health conditions to take medical marijuana while at school, and lawmakers in Colorado are considering whether to amend their state’s law to allow school nurses to administer the drug. With more states now legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as well, it’s likely more states will look for ways to accommodate families of students who depend on these prescriptions in order to live more normal lives.
Follow Linda Jacobson on Twitter