Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DC Council Authorizes Medical Marijuana Administration in Public Schools

The Council of the District of Columbia passed emergency legislation allowing public school students with medical marijuana licenses to be treated with the substance on campus grounds Sept. 17.

DAVIDGROSSO.ORG | D.C. Councilmember David Grosso introduced emergency legislation allowing DCPS students to take medical marijuana in non-smokable forms on campus.

Twelve of the 13 Washington, D.C. councilmembers approved the Student Medical Marijuana Patient Fairness Emergency Amendment Act, with one remaining neutral and voting “present.” Unlike ordinary D.C. legislation, which requires congressional review, the bill will immediately go into effect because of its emergency status once it is signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who has expressed her intent to sign it. 

The bill was introduced by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) (LAW ’01) due to confusion over schools’ policies on medical marijuana. Because minors with conditions such as epilepsy can be effectively treated with marijuana, Grosso proposed the legislation to ensure students with such needs could feel safe in schools, according to The Washington Post.

Students in the D.C. medical marijuana program were being denied on-site medication at school because medical marijuana use had previously been limited by law to medical treatment facilities, according to Grosso. Different schools were unclear about the law, according to The Washington Post, and the legislation aims to eliminate the confusion. 

“That is the reason for this emergency legislation, which would clarify the law to allow students who are participating in the medical marijuana program to receive their medication at school,” Grosso said in his introductory statement Sept. 17.

D.C. Public Schools will comply with the legislation, according to DCPS Deputy Press Secretary Ashlynn Profit. 

“Students who qualify for medical marijuana can be administered medical marijuana from a health professional in a school health suite,” Profit wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Implementing procedures appropriately limiting medical marijuana exposure and protecting school communities is critical as the policy goes into effect, according to Profit. 

“A parent or guardian would have to go through proper protocols with a school to allow for administration to occur,” Profit wrote. “Protocols for protecting students, families, and staff from exposure must be in place so that the health, safety, or welfare of others is not adversely affected.”

The emergency legislation amended medical marijuana policies passed in 1998 and 2007 by mandating that medical marijuana is permissible to administer in schools for individuals whose ability to fully participate in school would be affected without treatment.

Bowser announced through a spokesperson her intention to sign the bill, which would take effect for 90 days before it must go through standard legislative procedure, according to WAMU.

The amendment authorizes schools to allow students to be treated with marijuana only in nonsmokable forms and it permits the federal government to influence schools to disallow medical marijuana on their campuses.

“A public school or charter school could cease to authorize the administration of medical marijuana on its campus if the federal government indicates that it will withhold federal funding from the District or the school if the school continues to authorize the administration of medical marijuana,” according to the bill.

As the possession of any marijuana is prohibited under federal law, the policy of the District — which legalized medical marijuana in 2011 and decriminalized recreational marijuana in 2014 — often conflicts with federal authority.

Despite the passing of the emergency legislation, Georgetown University confirmed it would not change the Code of Student Conduct because it receives federal funding, according to Director of Student Conduct Judy Johnson.

“As a recipient of federal grants and funding, Georgetown is subject to the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act,” Johnson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “While the District of Columbia has changed marijuana laws in recent years, possession of marijuana, including marijuana, remains illegal under federal law.”

Georgetown continues to have a zero tolerance policy for marijuana on campus due to federal regulations. The university’s Code of Student Conduct stipulates that the “possession, use, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana, including medical marijuana, is prohibited.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *