Colorado has always been one of the more progressive states when it comes to marijuana reform. It was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana and is at the forefront of formulating a successful marijuana business infrastructure. Once again, it rises to effect progress as a new bill was signed into law that would allow school nurses to administer non-smokable medical marijuana to students who fit the stipulated requirements. House Bill 1286 is an expansion on an existing law that allows parents to give their children medical marijuana at school. Now they will be able to bring the medication to the nurse’s office so that she can administer it to the child.
Students Will Not Have Access to the Medical Marijuana
The law states that the parent would have to deliver the medication directly to the nurse’s office. The child would not be allowed to physically bring the marijuana themselves to the nurse or carry it on the bus. This way the medication is protected against falling into the hands of other students. The parent would need to provide the school with a doctor’s note regarding dosage as well as timing and an agreement letter would need to be signed by the parents and school principal, allowing the nurse to administer the medication as directed by the doctor. The medication would need to be held in a locked storage container.
Keeping Marijuana Out of the Hands of Teens
All of these requirements were enough to satisfy Governor John Hickenlooper. The protection to children provided by these regulations was a pivotal part of passing the bill into law. He openly stated that the protections were the reason he felt confident signing the bill and knowing that the medical marijuana would not “end up in the hands of other students.” All reports on teen marijuana use in Colorado indicate that it has not gone up since the legalization of recreational marijuana. In fact, there are even moments when it has gone down. Washington has shown similar reports. In this way, the rules work to continue keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and teenagers.
Motivation for Signing the House Bill 1286
Hickenlooper also affirmed that he was compelled to sign the bill after talking to the parents of children who take medical marijuana for one of a host of disorders. A common disorder amongst children who use medical marijuana is epilepsy. There are children who have been physically disabled and developmentally stunted by the number of seizures they experience on a daily basis. Medical marijuana has been a source of great relief for children suffering from seizures, allowing them to live a normal life again and develop as they should. Hickenlooper stated that he talked with the parents of these children and found their “reasoning and advocacy very compelling.”
The law itself leaves the ultimate decision about whether or not the school nurse can administer the medication in the hands of the school. It does not require that a school allows for this. It simply gives them permission to set up a process for it. It is up to parents and schools to create a dialogue about whether this is something that will ultimately work for them.