Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill for Colorado Schools

(Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Flickr, Creative Commons)

A new bill that has gained approval from a state legislative committee earlier this week will require schools in Colorado to allow parents the ability to provide their children with medical marijuana treatment while on school grounds.

House Bill 1373 gives school districts the right to create policies that will limit the places on campus that are available for parents to use when administering medical marijuana treatment to their children, as well as what forms of cannabis that can be offered. In the event that the district does not write such a policy, no limitations will exist to restrict where and what kind of marijuana can be given.

"It forces a conversation," Singer said of his bill's mandate, "that we were hoping would be a voluntary conversation."

A separate bill was passed last year by lawmakers giving schools the right to create policies that would allow students to use medical marijuana. The bill was lauded by parents of children who are severely disabled and depend on cannabis for treatment in both non-psychoactive forms as well as those containing THC, writes Kristen Wyatt for The Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

House Bill 1373 would be an update of that bill.

To date, not one of the 178 school districts in the state have created such a policy, although there is one currently considering doing so. Officials say they are concerned that a specific policy would cause them to lose federal funding and would also oppose the current bill's mandate.

Patient advocates are calling the current bill useless, as none of the school districts in the state currently allow the use of medical marijuana while on school grounds.

"This is not about two kids smoking a joint between cars in a parking lot," said Jennie Stormes. Her teenage son was suspended from school last year after being found with cannabis inside his yogurt. Stormes said the boy uses the snack to treat an illness that gives him seizures.

Colorado would become the second state to require schools to make accommodations for the use of medical marijuana, so long as it is in a non-smokeable form and is administered by a parent or guardian. New Jersey was the first state to do so.

School officials remain adamant that the use of medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and as such the requirement should not be put through.

"There is no way around the fact that federall law still recognizes marijuana as a controlled substance," said Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer for the Colorado Association of School Boards.

Sullivan went on to say that the requirement could cause the state to lose a total of $433 million in federal funding that would benefit the public school system.

Meanwhile, parents came in packs to support the bill at its hearing, saying that being able to administer medical marijuana allows their children to attend school.

The House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee passed the bill in a 10-3 vote, writes John Ingold for The Denver Post. It is currently awaiting a vote by the full House.

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