SB 223 allows medical cannabis on K-12 campuses

If Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB-223, California students will be allowed to take medical marijuana at K-12 schools, but only under certain conditions and only in districts that decide not to opt-out. In other words, it is not mandated by the state.

This means the Martinez Unified School District will likely be discussing the merits of adopting or not, the practice that this new law could initiate.

School districts and charter school governing boards can choose whether to allow a student’s parent or guardian to administer medicinal cannabis to a child on campus under strict supervision and conditions.

No cannabis of any sort is allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, so parents of pupils who consume medicinal cannabis during the school day, must take children 1,000 feet away from campus to administer medicine, and then return them to school.

The bill, called “Jojo’s Act” by state Sen. Jerry Hill (Santa Clara County area) was recently passed by the legislature in response to a situation involving a boy with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

He was being treated with medicinal cannabis to forestall debilitating seizures that had prevented him from attending school.

His mother said, without the marijuana, he could experience as many as 50 seizures a day, according to an email from Sen. Hill’s office.

Reportedly Jojo graduated from high school in 2018 and currently attends classes as part of a continuing special education program.

Jojo’s Act, like laws in the eight states, does not permit students to self-administer; they prohibit the use of smokable or vapable medicinal cannabis; and they set conditions for administering it to students, according to Hill.

These are the conditions under which the marijuana is administered under the new law, according to Hill: “The student is a qualified patient with a valid written medical recommendation for medicinal cannabis, and that the student’s parent or guardian provide a copy of the recommendation to the school to keep on file.” The medicinal cannabis is not stored on campus, and typically, medicinal cannabis for children is administered as oil, capsules, tinctures, liquids or topical creams that do not have the psychoactive. The parent or guardian sign in when coming on campus to administer it to a student. They must not disrupt the educational environment or expose other students to medicinal cannabis.

The restrictions and requirements set by Jojo’s Act would meet or exceed those in other states, according to Senator Hill.

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