Last Wednesday, the Colorado Senate passed legislation that would make it easier for children with complicated medical conditions to receive cannabis-based medication at school.
The 31-1 vote resulted in the bill now being sent off to the House.
One champion of the legislation is Republican Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, who cited an emotional testimony by Benjamin Wann, a Douglas County student who takes a cannabis-based medication to treat his epilepsy.
During his testimony, Wann used an audio clip of a story about a burning man telling a blind man to throw water on him, but the blind man refuses because he will get wet.
“I’m the burning man. All of you are the blind man. I’m telling you why I’m scared and why I’m emotional. I’m begging you to throw the water, but you’re not hearing what I’m saying,” he said in the audio clip.
Under current law, Colorado school districts must allow parents and caregivers to possess and administer cannabis-based medicine on school grounds. School principals have discretion over whether to allow school personnel to possess and administer medicine on school grounds, but the new bill would remove that discretion.
The bill would allow personnel to follow a prescription plan by the child’s physician. It would protect personnel following the plan from criminal or civil liability.
Parents testified before a Senate Education Committee about the difficulties their children face trying to take their medicinal cannabis doses while in school. Some say they have to leave work to deliver medicine to their children, while others opted to have their children learn remotely because it is easier to administer the medicine at home.
The debate surrounding policy for cannabis-based medicines in school has gone on for several years. In 2016, “Jack’s Law” gave Colorado school districts the ability to write policies through which students can take their medicine and specify what forms of cannabis can be administered.
It was as recent as last month when Colorado families once against pleaded with state lawmakers to pass a bill to expand cannabis-based medicine at school.
Parents such as Mark Porter shared how he and his family uprooted from other states to move to Colorado in order to receive cannabis-based treatments. His daughter Sarah suffers from Crohn’s disease, and Porter has seen great progress with cannabis-based medicine.