California Governor Gavin Newsom has just signed a bill that will allow parents to administer medical marijuana to their children on the grounds of public schools in the state.
Starting on January 1st, 2020, non-smokable medical cannabis can be administered to any child on public school grounds, from kindergarten through grade 12. The current law, which will remain in effect until the end of this year, bans all cannabis products from being used within 1,000 feet of any school. Because of this law, parents have been forced to remove their children from class in order to give them their medicine.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, the bill's sponsor, told the Los Angeles Times that the bill was created to help students “for whom medicinal cannabis is the only medication that works — so they can take their dose at school and then get on with their studies, without being removed from campus and without disrupting their educational experience or that of their classmates.”
Students must have a doctor's recommendation in order to be eligible to receive medical marijuana on campus. Parents or guardians must administer the medicine themselves, and are required to keep cannabis products away from other students. The law also gives each individual school district the right to ban medical marijuana from school grounds, but some districts are already reporting that they intend to allow this medicine to be used at their schools.
“I think it ought to be available as a need if the student’s family gets a prescription or a recommendation from a medical doctor for using it because it seems to have help for some people, particularly for epilepsy and a few other things,” said Jackie Goldberg, Los Angeles Unified School District board member, to the Times.
Last year, California lawmakers approved a similar bill, but it was vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he was “concerned about the exposure of marijuana on youth” and “dubious of its use for youth for all ailments.” Sen. Hill proposed the bill again this year, and it passed the legislature in August. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law last week.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 US states, but most school districts in these states still ban cannabis over concerns that they will lose their federal funding if controlled substances are being used at their schools. In addition to California, eight other states including Florida and Illinois, have now passed laws allowing medical marijuana use at public schools. In September, Washington DC also passed a similar law.