Can my child bring medical marijuana to school?
Medical Marijuana use is on the rise as people have started to learn more about its potential benefits and the conditions that it can help treat.
One of the biggest age brackets to benefit from medical marijuana is children. Able to mitigate the effects of rare forms of epilepsy and soothe the irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder, among other issues affecting children, medical marijuana has changed many young lives.
But for many parents, navigating the bureaucracy around medical marijuana, even in states where most cannabis products are legal, proves trying. Research on the benefits of medical marijuana is new and scarce, leading many to be skeptical of its effectiveness and safety for children.
On top of that, medical marijuana is only legal in certain states, and remains illegal at the federal level, meaning there is a lot of red tape around where and how a child can consume and obtain this important medicine.
One of the most common questions parents ask is whether children are allowed to bring and use medical marijuana in school.
There is no national ruling on this issue, but some states have created rulings and guidelines on what students can and cannot have on school grounds.
It is important to do your research to ensure that you or your child are prepared for any rules and regulations in place around medical marijuana usage in schools near you. Fortunately, we’ve done a bit of the grunt work for you.
Here’s a sampling of state laws around medical marijuana in schools.
Public school medical marijuana laws by state
The Texas Association of School Boards recently released an entire report regarding medical marijuana usage in schools across the state. Titled “Legal Questions about CBD and Marijuana in Schools”, the report details that federal law prohibits controlled substances from being in places of education.
However, the state has ruled that hemp is no longer a controlled substance, meaning if it is found on school grounds, students or staff will not be penalized.
Additionally, the Compassionate Use Act legalized the possession of low-THC Cannabis in the state of Texas. This means that authorized physicians can prescribe low-THC and high-CBD cannabis to qualifying patients. Under this law, students with approved conditions are allowed to have medical marijuana products on campus as long as a school nurse administers them.
In January 2020, Jojo’s Act was passed, authorizing parents or guardians to administer non-smokeable medical cannabis products to their children while they are at school. The measure is named after a high school student named Jojo who had to use medical cannabis at school to help control his seizures.
The passing of Jojo’s Act meant that parents were no longer required to take their children off of school grounds to administer their medical marijuana. It also meant that parents could be the ones to help administer medication, instead of school nurses or personnel.
The new law added more options for children and their parents to use medical marijuana in a way that made the most sense to them. School nurses are still allowed to administer the medication if the family chooses.
Medical cannabis law in Arizona is a bit complex. Under state law, anyone under 18 can be prescribed medical marijuana with the permission of a parent or guardian. But another law passed in 2010 denies children the right to bring medical marijuana on school grounds.
Tom Pickrell, legal counsel for the Mesa Unified School District, said about the ruling, “Very few students attend school who have a debilitating medical condition that can be relieved by use of medical marijuana.”
In 2016, the state of Delaware ruled that children who are legally using medical marijuana are allowed to have access to the medication while on school property. The ruling came after a student grew tired of having to leave school in order to take her medication. The child’s mother said that not allowing medical marijuana on campus made her daughter feel excluded and that the ruling would allow her to function better in school.
What about private schools?
Unless a private school is federally funded, there is no mandate for the school to follow state guidelines. Therefore, most private schools come up with their own guidelines for medical marijuana use on school grounds. For many of these students, school guidelines require that they leave school grounds to take their medication.
If you are the parent or guardian of a child using medical marijuana, it is essential to research and advocate for your child to ensure they are taken care of in every way possible. If you are unsure of the rules around medical marijuana at your child’s school, have a conversation with the school nurse about their stance on medical cannabis, as well as why your child uses it, what products they use, and any other information they might need to be aware of.