Colorado is considering a new bill introduced on March 8 that would allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana. The first draft of Bill HB18-1286 requires the student to have a valid medical marijuana recommendation. The marijuana must be a non-smokeable form, and cannot be smoked or vaped. This would apply to preschool, primary, and secondary schools.
Rep. Dylan Roberts (D), Sen. Irene Aguilar (D), and Sen. Vicki Marble (R) are sponsoring the bill, details Fox Denver. Currently, primary caregivers can administer medical marijuana to Colorado students, but this new bill would allow school nurses to do the same.
For a Colorado minor to qualify for medical marijuana, he or she must have a qualifying medical condition. According to the state’s Department of Public Health & Environment, these conditions include cancer, glaucoma, and HIV or AIDS. Also, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain are on the list.
Meanwhile, other states are tackling the issue of medical marijuana in schools, like Illinois, California, and Florida.
Illinois is considering HB4870. This bill would allow parents to administer medical marijuana to their children during the school day, so long as the child has a doctor’s recommendation.
This bill comes one month after a family filed a lawsuit against a school district and the State of Illinois. A school denied Ashley, an 11-year-old student, access to medical marijuana to treat her seizure disorder during school hours. The Surin family won the lawsuit in January, and she is now allowed to use cannabis during school, according to Fox Illinois and NPR.
Rep. Lou Lang (D) says an estimated 250 children in Illinois uses cannabis oil patches for conditions ranging from epilepsy to cancer.
Also in California, Bill SB-1127 would allow primary caregivers to administer medical marijuana to qualified patients ages K-12, reports the San Francisco Examiner. Sen. Jerry Hill (D). Hill addressed the possibility of allowing nurses to administer medical marijuana.
“The problem of asking school personnel to administer what today is a federal crime is not something I think we should be doing…That’s why a parent would administer it.”
Elsewhere in Florida, the state required each school district to create their own policies surrounding medical marijuana. This left districts in a difficult position, described the Sun Sentinel. Districts fear losing federal funding for breaking federal laws against marijuana. Federal funding helps schools pay for lunch and Title 1 programs, like migrant education and programs to help low-income families.
To avoid loss of funding, the Board included provisions in the policy.
“If the federal government indicates that the district’s federal funds are jeopardized by this policy, the board declares that this policy shall be suspended immediately and that the administration of any form of medical marijuana…to qualified students on school property shall not be permitted.”
In comparison, Colorado’s Bill HB18-1286 is a step ahead of states like Illinois, California, and Florida. If school nurses become capable of dispensing medical marijuana in Colorado, it’s likely that other states will follow suit. How the federal government will react, is still unknown.