In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use and sale for adults at least 21 years old. Marijuana for medical usage has been legal in a variety of states dating back to the 1990s. Now, Colorado is poised to become the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana in schools, with a bill headed to Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk that he is expected to sign.
Medical marijuana has been found to help children dealing with conditions like cerebral palsy and epilepsy cope with their symptoms. As it stands, neither parents nor nurses are allowed to administer medication containing THC within school zones, even if the medication is the only that could abate the child’s symptoms during school hours.
Lawmakers in favor of the bill argued that marijuana should no longer carry any sort of special stigma. “We allow children to take all sorts of psychotropic medications, whether it’s Ritalin or opiate painkillers, under supervised circumstances. We should do the same here,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer.
Singer pointed to the case of Jack Splitt, a 14-year-old from Colorado who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy as well as dystonia. When Splitt’s nurse brought him a patch containing THC to school, as prescribed by doctors, she was turned away and disciplined for doing so. The new law would allow Splitt’s nurse, as well as other caregivers, to administer medical marijuana so long as they bring a doctor’s note.
The bill, which came to be known as “Jack’s Amendment,” faced almost no resistance in Colorado’s House and Senate. Governor Hickenlooper will decide whether or not the bill is signed into law, but his spokeswoman has already indicated his intent to do just that. Jack’s Amendment could set a precedent for other states that have also legalized medical marijuana to push for its use in schools; parents in Maine have already begun urging their lawmakers to pass similar legislation.