Bill would require Colorado schools to allow medical cannabis on campus or lose state money

DENVER - A proposal set to be introduced next week would require schools to allow students to use some forms medical cannabis or risk losing state funding from marijuana taxes.

Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont) passed a similar bill last year, one that gave schools districts the option of allowing a parent or caregiver to administer marijuana oils and patches on campus. Denver7 found that no district across the state changed its zero tolerance policy for pot.

"Left and right, we're seeing schools still turn their backs on kids," Singer said. "So what we need to do this year is step up our game at the state Capitol and represent these families."

School districts have cited their fear of losing federal funding if they allow any kind of marijuana. Singer said his proposal would cause them to lose state marijuana money allocated for schools.

"They've been able to make this work in the state of NJ without any problem, and one of the things NJ said is, 'If you can't provide services for these kids, you risk losing state funding,'" Singer said. "We have a pot of money from pot and maybe the schools won't be able to receive those marijuana dollars for school construction. That can go to schools actually providing services for kids."

A Jefferson County student with severe cerebral palsy, Jack Splitt, inspired Singer to pass 'Jack's Amendment,' in 2015. Jack's mom was told that her son couldn't have his cannabis oil or patch at school even though Jack had a private nurse giving him the medicine.

Jack's Amendment was part of a larger bill regulating marijuana caregivers. Singer said that this year his measure will be a stand-alone bill.

The measure won't require school employees to administer cannabis medications, but Singer said they could be given the option of doing that if they feel comfortable.

"There needs to be a designated, responsible adult that’s administering this," he said. "You don’t have kids self-administering this kind of medication. Just like Ritalin, just like any other serious opiate drugs that is legal in the state of Colorado."

Singer said he plans to introduce the bill next week and is tentatively calling it 'Jack's Bill Part Two.'


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