Colorado schools allows students to use medical cannabis. The bill updates a new law that gives school districts the power to permit medical marijuana treatments for students under certain conditions. Patient advocates call the law useless because none of Colorado's 178 school districts currently allows such use.
"This is not about two kids smoking a joint between cars in a parking lot," said Jennie Stormes, mother of a teenage boy suspended from school for having yogurt mixed with cannabis pills to treat a disease that gives him seizures.
Colorado would be the second state after New Jersey to require schools to accommodate medical marijuana as long as it is in non-smokeable form and is administered by a nurse or caregiver.
School officials testified against the requirement, saying marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer for the Colorado Association of School Boards, said the requirement could endanger about $433 million in federal money that goes to Colorado public schools.
"This is a bill that asks you to gamble with local money," Sullivan said.
"They need to make reasonable accommodations so that children who need medical marijuana can go to school," said Stacey Linn, a Lakewood mother of a 15-year-old with cerebral palsy who is not allowed to wear a skin patch delivering a cannabis-derived treatment to school.
Medical marijuana has been legal in several states for two decades. But school districts and lawmakers nationwide are only now starting to grapple with thorny issues about student use of a drug still illegal under federal law. Colorado is one of three states where medical marijuana is legal that has any rules for use in schools, according to the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.
By The Associated Press