In late August, the California legislature passed S.B. 1127, known as Jojo’s Act, which, if it becomes law, will allow qualified students in California schools to use medical cannabis on campus. If Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, California will join seven other states in allowing students access to cannabis medicine on campus.
The bill is named after a student in the Bay Area who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. His mother is obliged to drive to his high school, meet him just off campus, and administer his CBD oil. Because the drug is illegal under federal law, it cannot be allowed on campus. The bill was sponsored by Jerry Hill, a Democratic state senator from the area. Hill said:
Senate Bill 1127 lifts barriers for students who need medical cannabis to attend school. This legislation gives these students a better chance to engage in the educational process with other young people in school districts that decide to allow parents to come administer the dose their child requires. I am grateful for the bipartisan support of my colleagues on SB 1127 and welcome any questions Governor Brown may have as he considers this important legislation.
Specifically, the bill would “authorize 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 1 to 12, inclusive, to adopt…a policy, as provided, that allows a parent or guardian of a pupil to possess and administer to the pupil who is a qualified patient entitled to the protections of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 medicinal cannabis, excluding in a smokeable or vapeable form, at a schoolsite.” The bill also has strict privacy provisions.
In June, Colorado approved a campus-use law that allows school nurses to provide medicine to students and keep the medicine in a locked storage unit on campus. Delaware approved Rylie’s Law in 2016. The law is named after Rylie Maedler, a student who had to leave campus to receive the medical cannabis that helped control her seizures. In Florida, school districts may opt not to allow use of cannabis medicine. The Broward County Public Schools district decided to allow a parent or caregiver to administer cannabis medicine but not school personnel. In Illinois, after a court ruled in favor of allowing a student access to cannabis medicine, the legislature passed Ashley’s Law, allowing Ashley Surin, who suffers from severe seizures, to use her cannabis medicine at school. New Jersey, Maine, and Washington have similar laws. Although the states that have legalized the use on cannabis medicine on school campuses have done so at the risk of losing federal funding, the federal government has not yet withdrawn its funds from school districts that allow for compassionate use on campus.
In June, the FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD preparation, for the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy. This approval contradicts federal law, which classifies marijuana as a drug with no medical use. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which decides federal appellate cases in California, declined a petition from the Hemp Industries Association to review the DEA’s classification of CBD as a controlled substance. The court held that before it could consider the question, the association was first obliged to petition the DEA directly. Furthermore, the court held that if federal law concerning CBD is to be changed, the proper way to do it is through federal legislation, in particular the annual farm bill. While federal law continues to classify cannabis, including CBD, as having no medical value, one federal agency and several states have moved ahead and approved the use of cannabis medicine, including by minors.
What do you think? Will the federal government reclassify CBD as having medical use? Leave a comment below.