Kids who require taking medicine should be able to take this medicine while at school. It’s a no-brainer, really. Not when it comes to medical cannabis. Although medical cannabis is legal in 29 states and Washington DC, school districts who choose to permit their students to use it are breaking federal law.
Schools That Permit Medical Cannabis on Cannabis Could Cuts in Federal Funding
Per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all school districts are mandated to accommodate children with disabilities. This includes allowing children to take prescribed medication while at school. But because the federal government still considers cannabis illegal, schools that allow it put themselves in a precarious position. The feds could cut their federal funding.
In progressive states where legal medical marijuana is available, many school districts struggle with federal mandates against it. And so do the parents of sick kids who have found relief with cannabis.
Children Who Have a Need for Medical Cannabis Denied their Medicine
In California, one North Bay area mom hired an attorney after she learned her daughter (who suffers from Dravet’s syndrome) wouldn’t be allowed to medicate at school. School district officials say their “hands are tied.” The Assistant Superintendent for Student Services at this North Bay district says, “If we can’t provide her that rescue medication, we can’t serve her on a public school campus.”
In Oregon, North Bend School District communications specialist, Brad Bixler, states that it’s a big problem for schools.
“What we’re finding,” said Bixler, “is that some kids have a need and families have reached outside of the traditional realms of medicine for products derived from the cannabis plant, which are showing to have benefits for some things these kids deal with.”
He mentions that these children could have “an identified need to access some of the cannabis plant during the day,” but because it’s technically illegal, school districts are extremely limited on what they can do, noting there is a need to “be very careful” when medical cannabis is on campus.
“Because it’s not a prescription from a doctor, we can’t handle it through our prescription medication policy and it isn’t something we can sign off on because it’s not an over-the-counter medication. We’re really restricted,” Bixler says.
Like many issues surrounding medical cannabis, the federal government needs to change its laws before schools can allow kids who desperately need it to use it without risking federal funding cuts.