The Denver Post reports on the struggles of Colorado district pertaining to medical marijuana use at schools. The issue is a new law allowing students with valid medical marijuana to use prescription treatments to medicate on school property.
Should kids be allowed to administer medical marijuana at school?
The new law, “Jack’s Law” named after Jack Splitt, offers the 179 schools in the district two alternatives, either they write policies on limited areas on campus where the treatments can be administered, and what forms of non-smokable cannabis are allowed to be used, or if the district has no policy, caregivers and parents are not limited to where treatment may be administered.
Rep. Jonathan Singer sponsor of the bill and a Longmont Democrat, says it is an “either or” situation for the school districts. He aimed at giving parents the right to medicinal cannabis for their kids, and also to give school districts a way of policing use. If schools can’t figure it out, the state will figure it out for them, he said.
Some schools are working on policies and others have already produced them.
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Denver Public Schools refuse to write a policy
Denver Public Schools (DPS) says marijuana is an illegal substance by federal law and refused to write a policy. Singer says he understands the reluctance, as only 350 kids younger than 18 are currently on the Colorado medical cannabis program. It is still a Class 1 substance, and some people are anxious to eliminate it from the classroom.
Jack Spitt and “Jack’s Law”
The new law was passed to benefit students such as Jack Spitt who has cerebral palsy. It allows him to wear a skin patch delivering a cannabis-derived treatment at school. Jack has a keen mind and enjoys mathematics, although he is trapped in a curled-up physique hampered by painful, debilitating muscle contractions, which only medical cannabis is able to ease, according to his mom Stacey Linn.
She says Jack loves to socialize and wants to learn. They battled for two years to be allowed medical marijuana at school until Gov. John Hickenlooper finally signed “Jack’s Law”, by which a designated caregiver, a parent or private caregiver must administer the medication, and is not allowed to create a distraction to other students. Caregivers must also remove all excess medication from the premises.
What “Jack’s Law” stipulates
School district personnel are not asked to administer the medicine. The law also includes a provision that medical marijuana is not allowed on school busses, or at school events on federal property, or any property that prohibits medical marijuana.
The law also allow schools to opt out if it can prove federal funding was jeopardized as a result of implementation. DPS spokeswoman Alexandra Renteria argues marijuana is not federally approved, nor is it approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing, which is against administration of cannabis to patients.
The Colorado Association of School Boards warned lawmakers earlier this year on the legal implications of “Jack’s Law” said Matt Cook, director of the association.
How cannabis for cerebral palsy changed Jack’s life
Linn describes the change she saw in Jack after he started medical marijuana treatment as “life changing”; he became more wide-eyed and interested in his surroundings. His world changed, and possibilities opened-up for him.
Linn started to advocate medical cannabis use in schools in 2015 after an employee of the school ripped off a skin patch from Jack’s arm. She and other parents lobbied state legislature. A law was passed, and schools were invited to create policies but none of the schools in Colorado district did.
Linn and the group of parents pressed lawmakers again, and “Jack’s Law” was passed by the state Senate with a vote of 35-0 and by the House with a 64-1 vote. Linn commented that it is a game-changer for medical marijuana.
Cannabis for cerebral palsy
In the use of cannabis for cerebral palsy, as in most cases where cannabis is used to treat children, CBD a non-psychoactive cannabinoid is preferred.