Students in Colorado could soon become some of the first in the country to be allowed to use medical marijuana at school. A legislative committee was scheduled Monday to start considering House Bill 1373, which would require school districts to let nurses and parents give youngsters with doctor recommendations for cannabis treatments in the form of oil or patches, the Associated Press reported.
Proponents argue that schools need to make accommodations for children who need medical marijuana, but critics say a loose policy could threaten federal education funding. "Kids shouldn't have to choose between their medicine and going to school," Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat, told the AP.
Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in Colorado and three other states, marijuana use for any reason is legal for adults. But only three have rules concerning its use in public schools. Last November, New Jersey became the first state to enact a law requiring all school districts to have rules that allow children with disabilities to have edible cannabis on campus, NJ.com reported. A school in Auburn, Maine, approved a rule in January that lets parents or guardians come to school and administer the drug to students.
In Colorado, though, districts have to give approval before parents can visit and give students smokeless medical marijuana; none have done so.
"Currently, a child suffering a life‐threatening seizure at school must be taken off campus in order to receive life‐saving medical intervention if the triaging medication is medicinal marijuana," the advocacy group CannAbility wrote in a news release. "This practice not only endangers the child’s life, it increases the chance they will end up in emergency room and face other complications with their conditions."
The Colorado Association of School Boards insists it isn't a compassion issue but a logistics one. A law like New Jersey's would affect about 350 students in Colorado, it says. "How do you begin to deal with those difficulties in different venues?" association executive Jane Urschel asked the AP.
Separately from House Bill 1373, District 49 in Colorado Springs has been weighing changing its medical marijuana policy for students. The school board is set to vote May 12 on a rule that would let parents stop by campus to give pot to kids with prescriptions, the Gazette reported.
"We're trying to walk that balance as our society and communities learn more about cannabinoid products and some of the benefits for people who have seizure disorders," district spokesman Matt Meister said.