Schools in Colorado must allow students in need of medical marijuana’s health benefits to use medical cannabis products in school.
Colorado’s Senate unanimously voted 35-0 in favor of the bill last Tuesday. Governor Hickenlooper has issued support for the bill and will sign it into law,
A year ago, a similar amendment was signed into that allowed nurses and parents to administer medical marijuana to students, but did not force schools to allow medical marijuana for students. Given the option to agree with this permitted use, Colorado’s school districts would not agree to let students medicate in school–so the issue was pushed a step further by advocates and parents.
Likewise, this new bill requires all of Colorado’s schools to allow medical marijuana derivative medicines like tinctures, patches, and edibles. Students are still not allowed to smoke medical cannabis in school, however.
For Colorado’s students with illnesses like epilepsy and their family’s, this bill provides a major sigh of relief. They will no longer be forced to choose between attending school and utilizing their medical marijuana.
Colorado joins New Jersey as the second state to officially permit cannabis use in all schools.
Among the first states in the nation to legalize the use and possession of marijuana, Colorado is also blazing trails when it comes to marijuana legislation in schools.
Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer sponsored a bill known as “Jack’s Amendment,” which would allow medical marijuana to be used in schools along with other permitted medications.
“Jack’s Amendment will assure that children don’t have to choose between going to school and taking their medicine”
Jack Splitt, 14-year-old Colorado student, inspired the amendment after Splitt’s personal nurse was reprimanded for his use of a medical marijuana patch at his middle school. Doctors prescribed the patch to help control his spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia.
This policy change is intended to benefit school-age students in Colorado who, like Jack, rely on medical marijuana patches to help manage conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy and seizures. Under the new bill, caregivers or parents would be allowed to administer marijuana patches in school, as long as a doctor’s note is provided.
Singer continued, “We allow children to take all sort of psychotropic medications, whether it’s Ritalin or opiate painkillers, under supervised circumstances. We should do the same here.”
The bill was met with overwhelming support in the Colorado House and passed unanimously. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has to reject or sign the bill in 30 days to give Colorado the opportunity to become the nation’s first state to permit medical marijuana usage in schools. According to one of the governor’s spokespersons, Hickenlooper intends to sign the bill.
Though the new legislation has been widely supported, voices of concern can still be heard. The former adviser on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Robert O’Brien, has openly voiced his opposition to marijuana in schools.
O’Brien recently spoke with FoxNews.com, stating, “Even in a tightly regulated regime, I don’t think more marijuana in the schools is a better idea.” He also commented, “Kids need to get the treatment they deserve … but I don’t want that in the schools.”
Penalties have yet to be defined for those who violate new rules, though laws of drug-free zones are known for inflicting harsh penalties. In the meantime, Jack’s mother, Stacey Linn, told FoxNews.com that she is relieved her son can soon attend school with the medication he needs.
Photo Credit: Marijuana Industry Group