Bill would allow medical marijuana use in schools
May 8, 2016
Steamboat Springs — A bill awaiting signature on Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk would allow young medical marijuana patients access to their prescribed medication while on school grounds or at school events.
House Bill 16-1373 was approved 35-0 by the Colorado Senate Tuesday after successfully working its way through the Colorado House of Representatives and House committees.
The bill would require that school districts allow the use of non-smokeable medical marijuana on school grounds, school buses or at school events, if the substance is administered by a parent or caregiver of a student.
"The school nurse or school personnel do not have to do any of this, but of course, they have to know it's happening on their campus," said Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, who voted in support of the bill.
Mitsch Bush said the parents of students with conditions such as epilepsy, seizures and severe disabilities offered moving testimony in support of the bill.
Last year, a bill was passed allowing schools to draft policies to permit student use of medical marijuana on campuses, but no districts did so, leading to the current bill.
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Steamboat Springs Board of Education member Joey Andrew said he has been following the bill and what it might mean for the Steamboat Springs School District, if passed.
"Obviously, the school board will have to craft a policy, and we'll also have to look at our policy regarding drugs in general, and that will have to be amended," Andrew said.
Andrew said he thinks carrying out the requirements of the bill would be controversial, as many parents he's spoken with have reservations about the presence of medical marijuana in schools.
"This is going to be a controversial issue, no matter what," he said.
Andrew also thinks the bill may lead to more parents considering medical marijuana as a treatment for students with various ailments or conditions.
"Any parent is going to want to try anything they think or deem might be beneficial to their kids," Andrew said.
The bill is expected to benefit about 300 students statewide who currently leave campus to take medical marijuana.