WASHINGTON — New emergency legislation paves the way for D.C. students to use prescribed medical marijuana in their schools.
D.C. At-Large Councilmember David Grosso introduced the proposal Tuesday afternoon at the Wilson Building.
The bill for the "Student Medical Marijuana Patient Fairness Temporary Amendment Act of 2019" reads:
"Medical marijuana, in a non-smokable form, may be administered to a qualifying patient who is enrolled in school, at the school of enrollment, if a school has a policy in place for allowing administration of medication at school."
Prior to the bill's passage, medical marijuana could only be taken in a residence or medical treatment facility in the District of Columbia.
Grosso said he felt students should not have to choose between attending school and receiving medical treatment.
"We did run into some uncertainty within the school system, the charter schools as well as DCPS, as to what was permitted by the city in this regard," he said.
D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman applauded the passage of Grosso's bill at Tuesday's council meeting.
She said one of her friend's sons, who had epilepsy, was once recommended to use medical marijuana to treat their ailment.
But, Silverman said that family, who lived in D.C., ran into road blocks when it came to exploring possible cures for their son's illness.
"My friends decided to move from the District because DCPS was not very accommodating to their son and his health condition," she said. "Their son is now in a public school in another city."
Students who take medical marijuana at school will have to have it administered by a nurse, according to Grosso. The application of any drugs will follow normal school health procedures.
"They're not just going to be able to carry it around," he said. "And it's CBDs, not THC. It's not like students are going to school stoned."
Grosso said his proposal comes after Mayor Muriel Bowser recently ordered the D.C. Department of Health to consider "school health suites" as "medical treatment facilities".
While that measure also opened the door for medical marijuana use in schools, Grosso said it was important to introduce legislation that would solidify the measure in D.C. law.
He added during the council meeting that not all D.C. schools have health suites.
Grosso's proposal was presented as both temporary and emergency pieces of legislation before they were approved by the rest of the D.C. Council. That means they will only last 220 days after Mayor Muriel Bowser signs them.
However, Grosso says a permanent version of the legislation has also been introduced to the council. The measure will be considered at a later date.