Several Hancock County school districts are contemplating policies that would allow students who have been prescribed medicinal marijuana to use cannabis at school under certain terms.
The Ellsworth School Department and Regional School Units 24 and 25 are all considering such policies.
Rather, each stated they are considering the policy after a law was passed in Augusta this past spring that permits the use of legally prescribed medical marijuana by students on school grounds.
According to the law, LD 557, “A child who holds a written certification for the medical use of marijuana may not be denied eligibility to attend school solely because the child requires medical marijuana in a non-smokeable form as a reasonable accommodation necessary for the child to attend school.” Maine’s medical marijuana laws allow marijuana to be prescribed to adults as well as children for a multiple forms of health issues, such as cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and diseases that cause severe muscle spasms.
Under the new school law, parents, guardians and other adults licensed as caregivers for children who have been prescribed medical marijuana may bring it onto school grounds for the child to use.
The students won’t be able to smoke marijuana at school, according to the law.
While the new policies would allow caregivers to bring non-smokeable marijuana onto school grounds, students would have to consume it in the principal’s office during the hours when class is in session, not before or after.
“We wanted to make sure structures are in place to support anyone who’s involved, either nurses or students or administrators.” Board members from RSU 24 and 25 have each dedicated one of their regular meetings to considering the proposed rules, which were adapted from a policy template drafted and vetted by the Maine School Management Association.
By forcing designated caregivers such as parents to visit schools and give the cannabis to their kids themselves, the rules prohibit school nurses from having to store and handle the drug.
School boards on the Blue Hill Peninsula have not yet considered implementing medical marijuana policies, but the superintendents of Unions 76 and 93 did not rule out the possibility of such a policy coming up in the future.
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