Medicinal Cannabis Use in Schools

What is Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis is all parts of the plant Cannabis Sativa L., whether growing or not. This includes the seeds and the resin extracted from any part of the plant. It also includes every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. However, cannabis products in a smoke or vape form are not considered to be medicinal.

Use of Medicinal Cannabis

One of the first steps in the legal authorization of medicinal cannabis use began with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. This act provided that a patient or a patient’s primary caregiver could possess or cultivate marijuana for medical needs without being subject to a conviction for use or possession. According to the act, the State Department of Public Health must issue qualified patients an identification card under their physician’s recommendation and a statement that they meet the needs for medical cannabis.

The act also authorizes the governing board of a school district, a county board of education, or the governing body of a charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades (first through twelfth) to adopt a policy allowing the parent or guardian of a qualified student to possess and administer medicinal cannabis at a school site. The act did however restrict the use of cannabis on school grounds by excluding cannabis in a smokeable or vapeable form.

Preventing Disruptions in Education because of Medicinal Cannabis Use

Preceded by the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Jojo’s Act gets its namesake from a young boy, Jojo, who suffered as many as fifty seizures a day. Jojo’s family discovered that they were able to reduce the number of seizures he endured with the use of medical cannabis. However, they ran into trouble when Jojo was unable to medicate at school. Because of this, Jojo’s mother had to remove her son from school property every day to administer his medical cannabis, interrupting his education.

Because of Jojo’s experience and the experiences of many others like Jojo, change had to be made.

Established in 2020, Jojo’s Act allows parents to administer non-smoking/non-vaping cannabis to their children on campus and during school hours. Like children who are administered pharmaceutical drugs, such as opioids with a physician’s approval, through Jojo’s Act children are also able to be administered medical cannabis.

Jojo’s Act applies to school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools. It outlines the following:

  • Parent or guardian must not disrupt the educational environment while administering medical cannabis.
  • Parents or guardians must bring all cannabis medicine with them and sign in upon arrival to administer the cannabis to their child and take the cannabis with them afterward. Please note that medicinal cannabis is not permitted to be stored at a school site.
  • School staff (including nurses) are not required to handle cannabis at any time.
  • Jojo’s Act is not compulsory, meaning governing boards may adopt a policy allowing for the administration of medical cannabis at their school sites, as specified. However, they may also opt-out of this policy at any time, even if it results in a real or potential loss of federal funding because of the policy.

Administration of Medicinal Cannabis on School Grounds

Once a child is a qualified medical cannabis patient with a valid doctor’s recommendation, Jojo’s Act permits their parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis to their child on school grounds. This can only be done in a non-smoking and non-vaping form such as in oil, capsule, tincture, topical cream, or similar product.

Children prescribed medical cannabis require regular doses, which may occur during school hours. Parents are now allowed to keep a child’s medical cannabis need on file, come on to school grounds with and to administer the medication, and remove all cannabis from school grounds after administration.

Confidentiality Concerns

Many parents or guardians are concerned that their administration of medical cannabis to their child will not be protected by confidentiality law. That is not the case. Administering medicinal cannabis to a student will be treated the same as administering any medical treatment. Accordingly, medicinal cannabis administration will be subject to all provisions of state and federal law governing medical records’ confidentiality and disclosure.

Discuss medicinal cannabis use for your child with an experienced education attorney.

We understand that being a parent comes with a lot of challenges – legal ones included. That’s why we’re here to help guide parents through their legal rights and access any resources they might need to help their child reach their full potential. Contact our law firm today to learn more about how the provisions in Jojo’s Act may benefit your child by allowing medicinal cannabis use.