School Nurses in Colorado Can Now Administer Medical Cannabis

An impactful modification to a pre-existing law will enable more pediatric medical marijuana patients to get the medicine and education they need.
School Nurses in Colorado Can Now Administer Medical Cannabis

Yet again, the state of Colorado is ahead of the curve—at least, in terms of increased access to medical marijuana. Thanks to a new bill, school nurses in Colorado can now administer medical cannabis, as long as parents give consent.

School Nurses in Colorado Can Administer Medical Cannabis If Parents Give the OK

Parents were already allowed to give their children medical marijuana in school. However, parents of students with a medical card were required to physically go to the school and administer the medicine themselves. Under  House Bill 1286, passed today by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, school nurses will be now able to administer the medicine themselves, so long as parents give the OK.

In a letter announcing the passing of the new bill, Gov. Hickenlooper said a young medical marijuana patient, Quinton, and his mother, inspired him to make a change to the pre-existing in-school medical marijuana laws.

“In evaluating this bill, we spoke with parents whose children are medical marijuana patients. We find their reason for advocacy very compelling, especially that of Ms. Hannah Lovato and her son Quinton who inspired the bill,” he wrote. “Their message was overwhelmingly persuasive, and we sign this bill today with much admiration for Quinton and expect great things in the future from this impressive young man.”

While the new law will take cannabis out of the hands of parents, Hickenlooper ensured that the medication will not ultimately end up in the grasp of other students, as the bill requires the medicine be stored in a locked container. Additionally, there must be a signed agreement between the child’s parents and the principal, and parents must bring a doctor’s note with explicit instructions involving dosing. Students are also not permitted to bring medical marijuana on the school bus, or even to the nurse’s office.

“Several safety measures were included in the legislation regarding the transport, handling, and storage of marijuana, to ensure it does not end up in the hands of other students,” Hickenlooper said in the letter.

While the law now allows nurses to administer the medicine, it doesn’t technically require them to. The policy simply gives them permission. Individual schools are free to decide whether or not they are comfortable allowing their nurses to handle medical marijuana.

Hickenlooper wrote, “The critical protections are key to ensuring that schools can administer this medication with efficacy while providing latitude for both districts and personnel to make their own determination on whether to administer medical marijuana.”

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