A new bill introduced in the New Mexico state Senate would allow for the use of medical marijuana in schools. The measure, Senate Bill 204, is sponsored by Sen. Candace Gould, a Republican from Albuquerque.
If the bill is passed, it would allow students with a medical marijuana certification and a treatment plan to use cannabis medications at school. The treatment plan would be agreed upon by the school principal and the child’s legal guardian. Cannabis would be administered by designated school personnel or legal guardians only. Students would not be permitted to administer cannabis medications to themselves or store them on school grounds. The use of cannabis medications would not be permitted to cause “disruption to the educational environment or cause other students to be exposed to medical cannabis,” the bill says. School districts that were able to prove that they have lost or would lose federal funds by implementing the policy would be allowed an exception.
Parents of Patients Support Bill
Lindsay Sledge moved from Utah to New Mexico so she could have access to cannabis medications for her five-year-old daughter Paloma, who has a seizure disorder. The mother of three says that cannabis is the only medicine that helps her daughter’s condition but New Mexico’s medical marijuana laws are impacting Paloma’s ability to go to school. She hopes that Gould’s bill will be noticed in other states.
“If it does pass, it’s going to be a huge precedent for other states also dealing with this issue,” Sledge said.
Sledge added that she hopes that officials at Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) will support the measure.
“I’m hopeful APS will implement this if it gets passed, because they would be setting the standard for every other district in the state,” said Sledge. “If the law is changed, I’m hopeful it will be an easy transition.”
David Peercy, the APS Board of Education President, has not yet considered the proposed legislation.
“We have not discussed this bill or the issue in general, so there is no board position at this time. Our government relations staff will keep us informed on this bill, as well as all education-related bills. As this bill progresses, the board and administration may decide to take a position,” he wrote.
Sledge urged lawmakers to pass SB 204 in a written statement.
“Children in New Mexico who rely on medical cannabis to treat their debilitating conditions are being denied an education,” she wrote. “I’m hopeful lawmakers will hear the stories from these families and vote yes on bill 204. The current Lynn & Erin Compassionate act discriminates against children who are medical cannabis patients and needs to be changed. There are currently six other states that have comprehensive laws that allow medical cannabis at school. I’m hopeful New Mexico will be next and that my daughter will soon be able to attend school with the life-saving medicine she needs.”