California Set To OK Medical Marijuana Use On School Campus

by Kim Boateng Posted on August 30th, 2018

Sacramento, California, USA : California parents would be allowed to give their children medical marijuana on school campuses under a bill SB-1127 passed by the state Assembly on Monday and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

State law has allowed minors to access medical marijuana since the 1990s but prohibits it on school campuses. That means parents have to remove their children from school or meet them off campus to give them a dose.

Parents and students would often describe how disruptive it was obeying the law. For young children, parents would have to arrive to class, pick up their child, take the child far enough away from school, give them their dose then return them to school. The requirements also prevented the use of cannabis as a “rescue drug” to stop or shorten seizures a student may experience while at school.

Yet concerns over disruptiveness were one reason for prohibiting medical cannabis at school in the first place. State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), the bill’s sponsor, thinks the legislation strikes the right balance for both. After SB 1127 received approval in the Senate, it passed in the assembly 42-20 on Monday. Now, Jojo’s Act will head to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for approval or veto.

SB1127, better known as Jojo’s Act, is a bill that takes the namesake of the San Francisco High School student who inspired it. That student, like so many others in California, had to leave school in order to obtain their medical cannabis treatments. For students with epilepsy and other severe clinical needs, there was no other option.

Jojo’s Act would let parents administer medical cannabis to their child at school. But only if the school’s governing body agrees to adopt an explicit policy to that effect. In other words, Jojo’s Act won’t mandate that schools let students obtain medical cannabis treatments on campus. It simply gives them the choice of implementing such a policy if they wish. And they could revoke it at any time.

Furthermore, the bill restricts any medical cannabis products that a student smokes or vapes. Only oral and topical medications will be allowed. Of course, the student will have to be a qualified patient under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 – it could only be given to students with a medical marijuana prescription. And parents will have to remove any remaining medical cannabis from school grounds. Schools will not store medical cannabis products for students on site.

In addition, there are four other specific stipulations in SB-1127 maintains for use on school grounds,

(1) The parent or guardian shall not administer the medicinal cannabis in a manner that creates a disruption to the educational environment or causes exposure to other pupils.
(2) After the parent or guardian administers the medicinal cannabis, the parent or guardian shall remove any remaining medicinal cannabis from the schoolsite.
(3) The parent or guardian shall sign in at the schoolsite before administering the medicinal cannabis.
(4) Before administering the medicinal cannabis, the parent or guardian shall provide to an employee of the school a valid written medical recommendation for medicinal cannabis for the pupil to be kept on file at the school.

It’s unclear, if the bill passes, how quick California schools will be to adopt the policy. Many remain hesitant to allow cannabis at school for any reason. Nevertheless, public opinion on the matter is shifting, bringing legislative changes with it.

Democratic Sen. Jerry Hill, who carried the bill, said his legislation would aid children and teenagers with severe medical disabilities.

Just weeks ago, In Santa Rosa, California, a court has allowed Brooke Adams, a 5-year-old girl to take cannabis oil with her to kindergarten to treat her Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. The ruling is still pending a final decision in November, but a change in California’s medical cannabis rules could help uphold it. The school district tried to prohibit the child from bringing her medicine to school, which the family argued was a violation of protections for disabled students.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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