Today marks the first day of work for Washington State Congress, and the session was kicked off by a bill proposal affecting students who have been prescribed medical marijuana. Aberdeen representative Brian Blake announced the filing of HB 1060, which would allow children to be administered medical marijuana on their school grounds, on the bus, or at school-sponsored events.
Currently, the state’s kids have to leave school campus to get their meds. The bill would require that both the student and their designated provider register in the state’s medical marijuana database, and carry ID cards to that effect.
It is not the first time such legislation has been proposed. Last year’s similar HB 1060 made it as far as its third reading by the House Rules Committee.
In Washington, medical marijuana patients legally qualify with conditions that are “severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function.”
The hold-up on in-school medical marijuana deeply affects the kids who depend on cannabis for daily functioning. “This is not a scary thing,” The Associated Press reported parent Meagan Holt as saying at committee hearings for HB 1060. Her daughter has Zellweger Syndrome, whose symptoms the family treats with cannabis oil. “These kids are wonderful kids, they use a controversial medicine but it shouldn’t matter if it’s what works for them.”
Washington State would be far from the first place to allow for children’s marijuana prescriptions. In Chicago, Ashley Surin was in sixth grade when she and her parents filed a federal lawsuit against her school for Surin’s right to take her medicine (in Ashley’s case, topically applied CBD oil) while at school. As a result, Illinois passed Ashley’s Law, ensuring that students are able to take their medicine while pursuing their education.
“This is not just going to help her,” Ashley’s mother Maureen Surin told the Chicago Tribune. “I hope it’s going to help other kids down the road.”
Across the United States, school districts are grappling with the factors necessary for on-site medical marijuana administration. In many places, school health staff have been instructed to administer medical cannabis to authorized students.
But kids and cannabis have always been a flashpoint, and there is certainly debate, on a national level, regarding the place of marijuana meds in school. In Florida, an administrators’ group raised concerns that the federal government could hold school administrators responsible for students’ cannabis use. In that state, some school districts banned state-legal medicine from the reach of students while on school grounds. These views have been reinforced by educational policy groups that are quick to warn schools of losing funding for permitting state-legal medical cannabis usage on campus.
Rep. Blake’s Washington legislation requires that parents be available to come to the school campus to administer their child’s medication whenever it is needed. This is in contrast to California’s SB 1127, or Colorado’s laws, which authorize school health staff to administer medical cannabis to students as they would other medications last year — thus saving working parents a trip.