Yesterday, in a unanimous vote, the Colorado Senate approved legislation mandating that school districts establish a policy to ensure that young medical marijuana patients can take their medicine on school grounds. As a show of respect, the Senate directed their ‘yes’ votes to families and proponents in the gallery. Last week the Senate Education Committee passed the legislation via a rare standing vote.
HB-1373 requires school districts to establish policies that allow use of non-smokeable medical marijuana for young patients in Colorado public schools. The guidelines in the law do not require school employees to administer the marijuana-infused products but suggests parents or primary caregivers on campus administer the medicine.
The legislation, known as “Jack’s Law”, concerns 15-year-old Jack Splitt. Jack suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia. Jack and his mother Stacey Linn successfully fought last year to allow school districts to establish medical marijuana policy – but after none did, more legislation was immediately required to get things moving. School districts hesitated after last year’s law, titled Jack’s Amendment, stoked unfounded fears regarding federal funding. The current legislation ensures school districts can opt out of the policy if they can show an actual loss of federal funding, even though that’s unlikely to occur.
“We don’t have time to wait for school districts to do the right thing,” said Stacey Linn, mother of Jack Splitt and executive director of CannAbility Foundation. “Jack and many other children need their medicine to get through the day and learn, and it’s imperative that those responsible for teaching them show compassion and understanding.”
“The medical benefits of marijuana are undeniable at this point,” said Art Way, state director, Colorado, for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We applaud the sponsors of this legislation for saying enough is enough and establishing a baseline of support for the nearly 300 children in our state who need marijuana infused products to help them function while in school.”
HB 1373 now heads to Gov. Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign the bill.