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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – September 03: Ana is trying a new way of giving Preston his oil. She is giving him straight THC separately from the CBD oil she gives him in his feeding tube. By using the oil separately she can figure his dosing ratios for tighter control. September 03, 2014 Colorado Springs, CO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

health | 01.01.2022

Colorado considers allowing school nurses to give students medical marijuana

The bill would allow students, ranging from those in kindergarten to 12th grade to consume non-smokable medical marijuana on school property.

In Colorado, primary caregivers can legally administer (non-smokable) medical cannabis to a student on their school property. A new bill would extend the same rights to school nurses.

The bill has currently been introduced to the Colorado House of Representatives, and its main sponsors are Democratic Rep. Dylan Roberts, Democratic State Senator Irene Aguilar, and Republican State Senator Vicki Marble. If the bill passes, it will exempt school nurses from the potential of criminal prosecution for possessing and administering medical cannabis to a qualified student on school property. This includes buses and events held by the school, such as field trips.

This would apply to students, ranging from those in kindergarten to 12th grade, who are in possession of a medical marijuana card.

However, it’s not as if a school nurse will have a stash of medical marijuana under their desk.As per the bill’s stipulations, after a primary caregiver or school nurse administers the medical cannabis product, they must remove any remaining cannabis products from the school premises.

The first school to enact this type of rule was the Larc School, a special education school, in New Jersey. The school enacted the rule in 2015 after the parent of a 16-year-old with epilepsy filed a lawsuit.While the lawsuit failed, the Lark School Board eventually acquiesced and introduced a policy that would allow students with qualifying conditions to consume medical cannabis during school.

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(Photo provided by the Surin family via MediReview)

This past January, the family of an eleven-year-old student, named Ashley Surin, in Illinois sued the Schaumburg School District 54 in hopes of gaining the right for their daughter to use medical cannabis patches at school. Surin uses medical cannabis to treat her seizures. Even though Illinois law prevents even prescribed medical marijuana on school premises, the judge ruled that there would be no legal ramifications for the school’s staff to permit and help administer Ashley’s medication on school property.

In some cases, cannabis’ Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act makes it difficult for schools to permit medical marijuana on school property without fear of jeopardizing their federal funding.

Still, in 2016, Colorado legislators passed a bill known as “Jack’s Law,” which permitted qualified medical marijuana card-carrying students to use medical cannabis on school property.  Delaware passed a similar law in 2016. Maine, New Jersey, and Washington all also allow students to use medical marijuana on school premises.

This bill would simply expand the state’s current medical cannabis laws as they apply to use on school property, to allow students to consume their medical cannabis products in a more safe and supervised setting.

“The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety,” concludes the bill.

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Rachel Abela

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