Huge Win for Epilepsy Patient as D.C. Lifts Ban on Medical Marijuana in Schools
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, technically placing it in the same category as any other prescription medication. It then be logical to assume that children with prescriptions would be allowed to consume medical cannabis in school.
But according to NBC4, this is not the case in most states. It is clear that, despite the fact that medical marijuana is gaining more acceptance, school policies reflect its stigma.
Unfortunately, this mentality causes innocent patients to suffer and seriously affects their quality of life while at school.
However, a recent situation in D.C. will hopefully prompt other states to follow suit.
Legal for Minors, but Banned in Schools
NBC4 explains that medical marijuana is legal for minors in certain cases. However, schools tend to shy away from allowing it on the premise:
“The debate surrounding medical marijuana in schools is playing out across the country. While more than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana, most don’t allow it in schools. D.C. law makes it legal for minors to qualify for medical marijuana treatment, but the law is silent when it comes to being used in schools.”
In this case, the question of allowing medical cannabis in schools is not so much a matter of legality, but school policy.
Marijuana is Usually a Last Resort
One thing schools need to understand is that, when it comes to some conditions, cannabis is the only treatment that works. This is the case with an 11-year-old epilepsy patient, whose plight was the catalyst for D.C.’s change in policy.
Zoey Carty has a sever case of frontal lobe epilepsy, leading to several seizures per day. Prescription medications were mostly ineffective and the side effects only made life difficult. Cannabis, however, proved much better.
But when the school’s policy stood in the way, according to NBC4:
“They [the family] said the only form of treatment for her severe seizures has been medical marijuana and CBD oil, which she takes through a small inhaler. But D.C. public law banned Zoey from taking her medicine at school.”
For an epilepsy patient, consistent access to medication is critical, as a single missed dose could be dangerous (depending on the individual).
A Change in Policy
In an effort to reform current policy, Zoey’s mother contacted several politicians and was surprisingly quite successful.
The child’s mother contacted local council members, the mayor and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. She then penned a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. Norton argued:
“A policy, compliant with federal law, that would allow the student to use her medical marijuana inhaler in school would prove beneficial to this student,” the letter reads. “Medical marijuana, of course, is already legal in the District, and it would seem logical to allow consumption of this medicine, especially when needed immediately, where the student frequently is — at school.”
On September 10th, D.C. Public Schools stated that they would administer medical marijuana to students with a prescription.
Carty’s institution, Friendship Public Charter School, released a statements saying that they would administer any medication upon a parent’s request, provided that they had appropriate medical documentation.
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Medical Access
As educators, we make it one of our biggest goals to fight the stigma that created the obstacles faced by Carty and many other patients who need medical cannabis. It is simply illogical for a drug to be legal, yet banned at the same time.
WeedAdvisor’s continuous work with governments at all levels aims to help shape new policies while providing systems and solutions to make this regulatory and legal maze easier to navigate.