A law that would potentially allow California parents to administer medical marijuana to their children at school is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's decision. If he approves it, he risks sanctions from the federal government.
The legislation would let individual school boards decide whether to allow, with a doctor's note, medical cannabis on school grounds. More parents are using medical marijuana to treat ill children who don't respond to traditional medications, says an article in Kaiser Health News.
The situation presents an inherent conflict with federal law, which has classified the drug as having no accepted medical use. Allowing medical pot on school grounds, therefore, could jeopardize federal funding contingent on schools being drug-free zones.
Administrators across the country, not only in California, have been worried that they would be held liable for having the substance on school property. But, so far at least, the consequences haven't materialized. Of the 31 states and Washington, D.C. that have legalized medical marijuana, seven — New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Florida, Colorado, Illinois and Delaware — allow students to use it on school grounds. Colorado recently went one step further and now allows school staff to administer it, not only parents. To date, the federal government has not penalized any of them.
Still, even the threat of losing funding is enough to give district leaders pause. Currently, parents must sign their children out of, then back in to, school, or, in the case of older students, meet them off campus, to give them a dose. This is disruptive to the child's classmates, and reduces learning time for a child who may well be confronting educational challenges to begin with due to a chronic condition, such a seizure disorder.
The pending bill in California stipulates that the marijuana would have to be in a form that couldn't be smoked or vaped, such as capsules or oils.