SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California students who are in need of relief through medicinal cannabis use during the school day just received good news from Governor Gavin Newsom.
Newsom has signed a bill that will allow K-12 students to medicate with cannabis on campus if the policy is permitted by school board members. Parents will have to administer the treatment and both smokeable and vaping products will not be permitted. A physician’s recommendation is required.
The move breaks with Newsom’s predecessor, former Governor Jerry Brown, who rejected a similar plan over concerns of exposing children to cannabis. Echoing Brown’s skepticism is Scott Chipman of Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana.
“There is absolutely no reason they can’t get their dosage out of school hours,” Chipman said.
The new bill was drafted to help students with debilitating conditions including severe forms of epilepsy, where attacks can occur without notice despite preparation. California Senator Jerry Hill (D) feels the bill’s passage is essential to ensuring ill students can experience a sense of normalcy and limit the amount of class time missed.
Hill said the bill helps 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.”
Los Angeles Unified School District board member Jackie Goldberg is supportive of the governor’s decision.
“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,” Goldberg said.
Previously, medicinal cannabis could not be in possession, even by parents, within 1,000 feet of school grounds. Parents were required to take their children to an alternate site to administer treatment.
Other states, including Washington and Illinois, have passed similar measures. Colorado allows medicinal cannabis use on campuses for students but requires school nurses to administer treatment.