School districts would have to allow students to consume medical marijuana on campus, school buses and at school events if they meet certain requirements under a bill state Rep. Brian Blake introduced this week.
The Aberdeen Democrat’s previous attempt to pass the legislation cleared the House but stalled in the Senate in 2017.
The inspiration for the bill was an Aberdeen constituent whose daughter has medical problems that make it difficult to attend school, Blake told The Daily News Wednesday. Consuming Cannabidiol (CBD) oil makes it possible for her to attend school, but she needs treatments in the middle of the day.
Under Blake’s legislation, parents would be able to bring medical marijuana to school if their child is authorized to use medical marijuana. They would then go into a private room where the child would consume some form of medical marijuana, such as a cookie, and then the parents would leave with the remaining product, Blake said.
The marijuana would not be on display in view of the general public, and smoking or otherwise inhaling the medical marijuana would not be allowed, according to the legislation.
Blake said the topic could be controversial, but “this is not a marijuana issue. This is (about) children having access to education.”
Teachers would not handle the marijuana, and school district officials, employees, volunteers, students and parents would be protected under the legislation from prosecution.
Blake said the bill also includes a clause that schools can opt out of the policy if they are worried they could lose federal funding as a result. Marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law.
“We don’t want to put school dollars at risk. Our effort is to keep children in school with access to educational professionals,” he said.
The policy does not protect people from prosecution if they are using the medical marijuana in a way that endangers others through the use of a vehicle.