California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation into law that will allow schools in the state to decide whether parents can administer medical cannabis to their children on K-12 campuses.
The bill will allow parents to administer their child’s dose of medical cannabis on K-12 campuses under strict rules and conditions as long as their school district allows it. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
Sponsored by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, the bill lifts a prohibition on cannabis possession and use within 1,000 feet of a school. Until now, parents were required to take their children off campus for administration of their daily doses.
The new bill was dubbed the “JoJo’s Act” by Hill. It is named for a South San Francisco teenager with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
Jojo takes medicinal cannabis to forestall debilitating seizures that had prevented him from attending school and left him barely able to function. Jojo’s mother testified to lawmakers that before her son started taking medicinal cannabis, he would suffer as many as 50 seizures a day.
“Medicinal cannabis for children is not recreational cannabis for adults. It’s not buds, it’s not plants, it’s not joints, and it’s not a substance that provides a high. For children who rely on regular doses each day to prevent seizures, medicinal cannabis enables them to attend school and have an educational experience with their peers,” Hill said.
Jojo’s Act enables K-12 school district boards, county boards of education and governing bodies of charter schools to choose whether to allow a student’s parent or guardian to administer medicinal cannabis to the child on campus under strict requirements.
The student must be a qualified patient with a valid medical recommendation for medicinal cannabis, and parents must provide a copy of the recommendation to the school.
The student’s medicinal cannabis must be in a non-smokable and non-vapable form and it cannot be stored on campus.
California now joins eight other states that already allow medicinal cannabis to be used on a K-12 school campus. Hill noted that none of these eight states has lost federal funding.
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