On Monday, the California Assembly approved a bill that will allow school boards to permit medical marijuana use on K-12 campuses.
The bill specifically allows parents to administer cannabis to their children at school. For kids who use medical cannabis, this means they no longer have to leave campus to get their medication. For children with severe epilepsy and other conditions, having to wait to leave school can be “a dangerous and onerous requirement,” supporters of the bill say.
The bill, called SB-223, would let local school boards decide whether to approve or reject the policy. Currently, state law has banned any marijuana, including medical, within 1,000 feet of school campuses. Smoking on-campus would still be illegal — medical cannabis is administered through a capsule or tincture (liquid extract).
Medical marijuana has been life-changing for many children with severe epilepsy. A recent study through the New England Journal of Medicine found that in 120 children with epilepsy, many of whom had no positive response to medication, medical cannabis reduced seizures by 50% on average, and even made some patients seizure-free. Check out the video below to hear from Alex Repetski, who says that before treating his daughter’s epilepsy with cannabis oil, she could barely sit on her own.
Opponents of the bill, however, worry about allowing medical marijuana in California schools, and question whether marijuana regulations for children are strong enough. The bill did pass the Assembly floor, but is still highly debated. If it passes the Senate in a final vote, it will go to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom — his predecessor, Jerry Brown, vetoed a similar proposal last year.
“As a parent, I feel like this is crossing what should be a bright line in keeping marijuana, cannabis products out of our schools,” Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi told the Associated Press.
Assemblymember Monique Limon disagreed, saying, “I ask that we allow school districts to make this decision themselves, and also acknowledge that students for different reasons have medical conditions that this can aide.”