Summit schools wrestle with medical marijuana
Summit Daily News
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Summit School District board members tabled a Tuesday discussion about revisions to the drug and alcohol policy because they felt there were too many unanswered questions.
The policy was meant to address revisions to state laws that address medical marijuana. Board member Erin Young said state laws prohibit the possession of medical marijuana on school grounds. Period.
The law states, “A patient or primary caregiver shall not … possess medical marijuana or otherwise engage in the use of medical marijuana in or on the grounds of a school or in a school bus.”
The district’s policy is meant to be in conformance with that law, but board members questioned “under the influence” terminology in the existing policy and its revisions.
“What do you do if a student legitimately needs the recommendation?” board president Jon Kreamelmeyer asked. Could it be acceptable for students to take their medical dose before school?
Board member Alison Casias noted that pain killers and vitamins fall into the same category as hard drugs in the policy – and asked what it means to be “under the influence” of such over-the-counter products.
She also asked whether it’s necessary to include in the policy language stating: “The district affirmatively determines that any use of medical marijuana endangers the health and well-being of students.” It seems to be “picking a fight,” she said.
Casias’ third concern was about the all-encompassing time frame listed in the policy – essentially, it applies from August to June, she said.
The policy states that it applies to student behavior “off school property and/or outside school hours if the behavior is in proximity to the school, and/or within the school year and/or in proximity to school hours and/or during school activities.”
“Staff is recommending this policy be cleaned up,” Superintendent Millie Hamner said. “We should take a hard stance on this.”
Board members decided some of their questions needed to be addressed by the district’s legal counsel, so they’re holding off on making a decision until they have more information.
“It doesn’t sound like anyone’s fired up about this,” Kreamelmeyer said. “If we’re going to do this, we should do it right.”
He said the bottom line in answering these questions and defining “under the influence” is to choose whether to be “a little bit understanding or not at all.”
Similar policy revisions for staff were approved on initial reading Tuesday night, but board members wanted to further define what it means to be “under the influence” before they finalize the policy.
Some suggestions were to monitor job performance. If it declines, the staff member may be drug tested. However, board members were firm that marijuana use by those in safety-sensitive jobs such as bus driving would be prohibited.
Arguments were made for individuals who may function better while using medical marijuana.
They plan to seek legal advice before final reading of the staff policy.
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