It took a long time for John Barclay’s daughter, River, to be healthy enough to attend school again after she starting suffering seizures following kindergarten. It’s been only 18 months since they stumbled upon a medication for River’s severe epilepsy effective enough for her to be in a classroom setting.
But River needs the medication five times a day.
Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem—sick people have been taking multiple pills at multiple times throughout the day since the dawn of medicine without incident. But since the medication is oil high in CBD—the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant—River can’t receive her medication on school grounds. Thus, Barclay has to take River out of school to deliver her afternoon dose, he told KING 5.
There’s no requirement under Washington state marijuana law for schools to accommodate students taking medical marijuana. Much worse, schools are allowed to ban marijuana outright on campus under state and federal drug-free workplace laws—and over fears of marijuana’s negative influence on young minds, many do.
Since returning River to school after her dose is too onerous, she and John, an IT professional, just stay home, defeating the purpose of River being healthy enough to learn again in the first place.
But soon, state lawmakers may fix this silly arrangement.
A bill scheduled for its initial hearing on Tuesday would allow a parent, guardian or authorized caregiver to administer medical marijuana to a minor on school grounds or during a school activity.
If approved, officials at Washington state public schools would not be involved in any way with administering the marijuana themselves, as they might with other drugs, but they would be required to accommodate students who are marijuana patients. School officials would verify a student is a MMJ patient and then designate a room or other area for the express purpose of a parent or caregiver meting out the patient’s required dose.
Most importantly, this means a student would be explicitly allowed to consume marijuana while on school grounds or during a school activity. Schools would not be allowed to opt out, according to the bill. The cannabis couldn’t be smoked or inhaled, but that’s not a concern for kids using oil.
In practice, giving kids medical marijuana at school could be as simple a process as a parent handing a child a package of medicated cookies to eat throughout the day along with the kid’s lunch.
“I would just give her a cookie, and say ‘Have a good day,’” Barclay told the news station.
According to KING 5, the bill has a good chance of becoming law.
It has bi-partisan support and no reported organized opposition. It also has built-in protections, for otherwise-leery school officials. They’d be exempt from any civil or criminal penalties for allowing their students to consume medical cannabis.
And parents like John Barclay wouldn’t have to make multiple trips to their kids’ schools everyday just to make sure they don’t suffer a life-threatening seizure.
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