California Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis on School Campuses

Parents may soon be able to legally administer medical cannabis to K-12 students while they’re at school.

On Monday, the California House of Representatives approved a bill that will let school boards decide whether parents will be allowed to give their kids medical marijuana on campus. Currently, students must leave campus to consume their meds, which critics say is a risky policy.

The state assembly’s decision does not apply to smokeable cannabis. The legislation will now go to the state senate for approval. Last year, ex-Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Jojo’s Act, a similar bill named after a San Francisco High School student and medical marijuana patient, after it had passed both the state House and Senate.

In September of 2018, a California judge ruled that five-year-old Brooke Adams could attend public school and bring her cannabis-based medication with her to take on campus. She had previously been banned from attending by Rincon Valley Union School District, which had taken the stance that Adams’ presence would violate state laws regarding medical cannabis on school campuses.

“I was so overwhelmed with emotion and joy that we don’t have to fight anymore after a battle of over two years,” her mother Jana Adams told a local newspaper at the time. “I’m grateful that we had this ruling so she can just go to school like any other child and we don’t have to keep pushing to get what she needs.”

California is certainly not the only state that has grappled with issues of how child and adolescent medical marijuana patients are to access their cannabis meds at school. In June, Florida’s Palm Beach County School Board decided to give access to parents to administer their kids’ low THC cannabis medications at a designated location on school campuses.

Still other states have given the OK to students’ consumption of medical cannabis at school when the medication is administered by a school nurse. That setup has the additional benefit of being more accessible to parents who have to work during the day, and cannot take time off to make it to their kid’s school every time they need to take their medicine. One of the most recent states to institute such a plan was Virginia, which passed Senate Bill 1632 to that effect in February.

Other states have opted to authorize both legal guardians and school personnel to administer medical cannabis, like New Mexico, which saw SB 204 signed into effect by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in April.

The debate over medical marijuana in schools has also focused on whether teachers and school staff should be allowed to take their medical cannabis on campus. Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education declared at the beginning of the year that school employees could not lose their jobs or potential promotions over their authorized use of medical marijuana. But at the same time, they were banned from having the drug on campus or during school hours. Students, however, were authorized to use their meds on campus, as long as they were administered by an official caregiver who takes the remainder of the drug with them afterwards.

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