What’s up with medical marijuana in schools?

drug-free-school-zoneRecently, KOAA in Colorado Springs posted this story:

News5 Investigates: No action taken to allow medical marijuana in schools since Jack’s Law passed

Talking to one parent at one school district is not enough to draw conclusions about the entire state. Just because there hasn’t been some big announcement doesn’t mean we aren’t inching forward. I see conversations changing across the state, in small but meaningful ways.

With the passage of Jack’s Amendment, the legislature gave school districts permission to make good policy regarding medical marijuana at schools. Now it’s time to let schools know what good policy looks like. That means rolling up your sleeves, getting in there and doing the work. Parents need to work with their school districts, as difficult as it may be sometimes, to create the change they want. That’s true whether it’s medical marijuana or any other issue.

It’s amazing how much the drug war has wound its way into policy at every level. All of that has to be dismantled, piece by piece, while facing fear, obstruction and systemic institutional bias. References to things like drug-free school zones and controlled substances are sprinkled throughout the education code. Jack’s Amendment was the first step to changing all of that.

Where are we now?

Yes, a few school districts are freaking out, throwing tantrums, stomping their feet and refusing to participate. Not unexpected.

Their biggest excuse is the risk to federal funding. In my opinion, this is a red herring since no school has been punished by the feds for allowing medical marijuana. And I doubt our governor or state legislature would stand still and allow the feds to punish the children of Colorado that way.

Let’s assume it’s a real threat. Is it reasonable to expect a school district to announce to the media that they are openly flaunting federal law and putting their students at risk?

Yes, we still have schools profiling and harassing kids for marijuana possession. Some schools expect any and every mention of marijuana, even medical, to be reported to Child Protective Services and are threatening staff who don’t comply. CPS is struggling to figure out what to do with those reports, with no other evidence of abuse or neglect.

But that is not every school. And these are not insurmountable challenges.

Overall, unless there’s some questionable incident or schools are forced to state a public position, most are quietly taking a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to medical marijuana. They may be confused about marijuana and youth, but parents are generally supportive of our canna-kids in school. More and more brave school nurses, counselors and teachers are speaking up in support. And this legislative session, we’re working with Stacey Linn and Rep. Jonathan Singer on the next steps to push schools toward good policy.

Everything is a process. And timing really makes a difference. The conversation has changed a lot in the last few years. As the public is getting educated, more people support medical marijuana now than ever before.

We’re going through a paradigm shift, and it won’t happen overnight. As an 18-year-old patient described it, we’re coming out of the Dark Ages and entering the Cannabis Renaissance. If you remember your history, the Italian Renaissance wasn’t without it’s turmoil.

In the wise words of Rep. Singer: “You can’t do this work if you don’t believe in incremental change.”

Changed doesn’t just happen. And we won’t get the change we want if no one is out there in the trenches doing the work. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. It takes time.

It means demonstrating what responsible parenting around cannabis looks like. It means having difficult conversations and building relationships. It means listening to the other side and finding common ground. It means working together to find solutions.

So thank you Jennie Stormes, Stacey Linn and all the other parents who are working with your schools and advocating for your children. You’re doing exactly what you need to do.

In the meantime, we continue conversing with policy makers and working on legislation that will push schools and other agencies to develop more reasonable policies when it comes to medical marijuana.

Be patient. Change is happening.

— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)

Cannabis Patients Alliance is working hard for patients by continuing to advocate for legal, safe, affordable access to medical marijuana across Colorado and around the country. Your contribution will go a long way toward keeping our advocacy alive and ensuring patients needs are included in the discourse on public policy and education. We are changing hearts and minds, one conversation at a time. Please DONATE today so our work can continue!

Categories: Children, Teens & Youth, Colorado, Family & Relationships, Policy & Politics, Schools & Education

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1 reply

  1. The next step in this battle, a bill to hold schools accountable to medical marijuana patients, will be introduced next week!


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