Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that allows parents to give their children medicinal cannabis in some California K-12 schools.
What exactly does the bill allow?
The bill, which was signed late on Wednesday, gives permission for parents to administer medicinal cannabis to their kids. It must not be in smoking or vaping form, and it must also be approved by the particular California school board.
Legislation similar to this one appeared last year but was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown. Brown stated his concerns with allowing marijuana around young children, especially as its use becomes more suspect as they get older.
Scott Chipman of Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana also called the bill an “unnecessary stunt.” He believes children can receive their medical marijuana doses before or after school hours.
But Newsom overruled any objections from law enforcement groups and signed the bill anyway.
Newsom is known for his support of the legal marijuana industry. He was the top advocate of Proposition 64, the 2016 recreational pot legalization initiative.
Not everyone disagrees with Newsom’s recent decision to allow medicinal cannabis in California schools. Democratic Senator Jerry Hill, for instance, believes the bill will help hundreds of students. Many suffer from illnesses like epilepsy, and medicinal cannabis products will benefit them.
Hill added that this bill isn’t meant to give all students the chance to try medical marijuana. It’s designed for students who have no other options besides medicinal cannabis. The new law means they can take their medicine without having to interrupt their school day.
How have school districts responded to the new bill so far?
Jackie Goldberg, board member of Los Angeles Unified School District, says she’s on board with the new bill. She also added that she will be consulting the district’s health officials to come up with a specific policy.
“I think it ought to be available as a need if the student’s family gets a prescription or a recommendation from a medical doctor for using it because it seems to have help for some people, particularly for epilepsy and a few other things,” she said.
Goldberg noted that the medicinal marijuana approved in this bill does not contain ingredients that can get students high.
When will the medicinal cannabis law go into effect for California schools?
The law goes into effect on January 1. It’s called “JoJo’s Act,” in honor of a teenager from Francisco Bay with a syndrome called Lennox-Gastaut. This severe kind of epilepsy means that JoJo must take forms of medicinal cannabis in order to prevent harmful seizures. He previously could not attend school because this medication was not legal on the property.
California is not the first to pass this law. It already exists in both Washington and Florida. It’s possible that other states will follow suit.