Moffat school board approves medical marijuana policy for students
On Thursday, the Moffat County School District board approved a policy that would allow school personnel and caregivers to administer medical marijuana to qualified students. According to the policy change, they can give a student patient their recommended dose of the drug at a designated location under specific qualifications.
Policy language defines a designated location as “a location identified in writing by the school district in its sole discretion and may include a location on the grounds of the school in which the student is enrolled, upon a school bus in Colorado, or at a school-sponsored event in Colorado.”
In the policy, school personnel may volunteer to store, administer or assist in the administration of medical marijuana to a qualified student in a designated location where a locked storage container stores the qualified student’s medical marijuana. Parameters for the policy specify that a parent cannot demand a specific location on school grounds for their child to receive their prescription, including on the bus or at a school event. Students cannot administer their own doses of marijuana.
“(A student can receive medical marijuana if) the district determines, in its sole discretion, that a location and a method of administration of a permissible form of medical marijuana are available that do not create risk of disruption to the educational environment or exposure to other students,” a portion of the policy states.
In 2018, Colorado state legislature passed a bill that allowed principals to allow or deny students who have access to medical marijuana the ability to take it on school grounds, meaning it was common for some students in the state to have to leave campus to receive their medicine. However in May, 2021, a new bill (SB21-56) was passed bipartisanly to remove that discretion and require school boards to implement policies allowing for the storage, possession and administration of cannabis-based medicine by school personnel. The bill received 90 out of 100 senate votes and only applies to public schools in the state.
“The district prepares, with the input of the qualified student’s parent/guardian, a written plan that identifies the form, designated location(s), instructions or treatment plan for administration from one of the student’s recommending physicians, and any additional protocol regarding administration of a permissible form of medical marijuana to the qualified student,” the MCSD policy continues.
Medical marijuana will also adhere to the board’s prescription drug policy, as well.
School personnel may not administer any prescription unless administration cannot reasonably be accomplished outside of school hours. Medications are also distributed by a registered nurse in cases of traditional prescriptions, but the medical marijuana policy specifies that a caregiver or a volunteer school staff member distributes cannabis to the child. A staff member cannot be forced to give a child cannabis-based medication.
Students who qualify can only receive nonsmokeable products such as oils, tinctures, edible products or lotions that can be administered and fully consumed in a short period of time. For a child to qualify for medical marijuana at all, he or she must receive a valid recommendation for delta-9 cannabis from two licensed physicians and valid registration from the state of Colorado authorizing the student to receive medical marijuana, which is used for ailments like seizures or Crohn’s disease.
Students who do not qualify for medicinal marijuana — including its use, distribution, sale or being under the influence of medication inconsistent — and are caught in possession will still be held accountable based on current drug paraphernalia and alcohol policies, including disciplinary consequences like suspension or expulsion.
“If the federal government indicates that the district’s federal funds are jeopardized by this policy, the Board declares that this policy must be suspended immediately and that the administration of any form of medical marijuana to qualified students on school property, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored event must not be permitted,” the policy states.
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Over 7% of the Moffat County School District’s alternative school has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning that staff will be required to wear masks over the next week.