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When it comes to drug policy, many activists are turning an old adage on its head. They want people in positions of power to simply “think of the children.” However, instead of worrying about how witnessing adults using cannabis will impact children or implying that any form of legalization will put children at risk, the concern is about ensuring that children have safe and legal access to a medication that may save their lives.
While more states choose to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use every day, some of the most vulnerable people, including pediatric patients with serious conditions, still have trouble securing medical certifications and asserting their right to use cannabis instead of pharmaceutical solutions.
Drug-free zones around schools, along with other similar policies intended to deter youthful recreational use, have made it difficult for pediatric patients to fully benefit from medical cannabis laws. Although cannabis may enable these children to embrace daily life with their peers, they often can’t legally consume the medication making school attendance possible on campus.
Thankfully, several states are working hard to change that issue. Colorado, unsurprisingly, has lead the way. Now, they’ve officially created a system that allows children with qualifying conditions to use cannabis on school grounds.
This new law, passed as House Bill 18-1286, is also titled “Concerning Allowing School Personnel to Give Medical Marijuana to a Student with a Medical Marijuana Registry Card While at School.” This bill expands and improves an existing law, allowing school personnel to help students who use medical cannabis during the school day, so long as the cannabis isn’t smokeable.
Children using cannabis typically have severe, debilitating and potentially fatal conditions such as cancer and epilepsy. Regular, consistent dosing is critical to help reduce or prevent seizures. Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed the bill into law on Monday, June 4th, 2018. His statement included a reference to the story of Hannah Lavato and her son Quintin, who takes cannabis to suppress three kinds of seizures and symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome.
The cannabis oil Quintin takes has helped considerably, but it has not eliminated his seizures. His parents believe that is due in part to his inability to maintain a constant level of the medication in his bloodstream. Now, due to the compassion of state lawmakers, Lavato’s son and others in a similar position will have safe and legal access to medical cannabis products during the school day.
This is a victory for cannabis advocates and for parents of children with severe medical issues. Hopefully, more states will follow the example set by Colorado in stepping up to protect medically vulnerable children.
For previous Ladybud coverage of pediatric cannabis, click here.
Photo Credit: lori05871 under CC BY 2.0