Colorado Bill Will Expand Availability of Life-Saving Cannabis Medicines in Public Schools

Colorado has been leading on the availability of cannabis-based medicines in public schools, with a law already on the books that permits the usage of medical cannabis by student patients. (Smoking isn’t allowed on campus, so the medicines must be in other forms, such as tinctures or capsules.) Known as “Jack’s Law” after the late pioneering Jack Split, students were provided the right to utilize medicinal cannabis when administered by a parent or guardian. However, a new bill is needed to improve upon Jack’s Law because students aren’t allowed to possess their cannabis-based medicine and some school boards have prevented willing educators from administering any medicines derived from cannabis, even if recommended by their doctor under state law. Most notably, the bill is being championed by a former opponent of progressive cannabis laws, who should be commended for growing and acknowledging that he was wrong in the past, as Colorado Newsline reported::

Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, a Republican from Douglas County, said Senate Bill 21-56 is more important to him than any other legislation he’s sponsoring this session. The seven lawmakers on the Education Committee approved the bill unanimously on Feb. 24, sending it to the Appropriations Committee for review on a yet-to-be-determined date.

“As a person that comes from a community fairly consistent in being opposed to marijuana legalization in Colorado, I’m willing to put my hand up and say I was wrong about cannabis-based medicine,” said Holbert, of Douglas County, who is partnering with Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, on SB-56. “I’m perfectly willing to have conversations with constituents, doubters, to say, ‘You’re wrong. You need to meet these people.’”

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The bill wouldn’t force any school personnel to administer the medicine, if they don’t feel comfortable, but it does require school districts to have a policy for the storage of cannabis-based medicine on campus. The policy must allow willing school nurses, teachers or staff to administer the medicine to a student who provides a doctor’s recommendation and dosing instructions.

Oregon and other medical cannabis states should implement similar laws to ensure that students get the medicines that they need. School-aged patients with certain medical needs, such as help administering a Charlotte’s Web tincture to stave off deadly and debilitating seizures, shouldn’t be denied the same educational opportunities as other students. As we march towards ending cannabis prohibition federally, there are still much-needed reforms that we need to pass along the way and true equality in our medical choices is certainly necessary.

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