Proposed District 49 policy would allow cannabinoid use on school grounds

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- An El Paso County school district could soon become the first in Colorado to allow certain students to use cannabinoids on campus.

On May 12, District 49 will vote on whether or not parents can give their child cannabis medications on school grounds.

Right now, students who need to take these medications have to leave school grounds to get it from their parents, meaning they're missing out on a lot of valuable class time.

If approved, this new policy would change that dramatically, and the family who helped spark this policy says it's a good step forward.

"I commend D-49 for doing the right thing," Jennie Stormes said.

Stormes and her family moved to Colorado in 2014 after running out of options to help her 16-year-old son Jackson. He's suffered from seizures his whole life, and Stormes says nothing helped until they tried cannabis oil.

"It's the only thing in 16 years that's worked. We finally find something that works and the world says, ‘No, you can't have this.' Why?" Stormes said.

Under federal law, school nurses are not allowed to administer any type of cannabis medication. But if approved, the new policy would allow parents or a medical professional to give the cannabinoids to the student at the nurse's station.

"District 49 individualizes our educational programs to meet each learner's needs, and this policy is a way that we can do that for a very small number of students," D-49 Director of Communications Matt Meister said.

Meister said if it passes, about 40 kids would benefit from this policy.

But some parents are worried it could hurt the school.

"We're getting some concerns about federal funding, which is a valid concern," Meister said.

He said there is a cease and desist provision in the policy, so if the government was unhappy about it, they would stop immediately.

"District 49 receives more than $7 million of federal funding a year, and that's just something that we couldn't afford to go away," Meister said.

Meister said it's a struggle finding a balance between state and federal laws, but he said the district, along with the parents, want what's best for the students.

"Right now state statute doesn't align with federal law with regard to cannabinoid products and so we're kind of in that time of transition," he said. "We're trying to walk that fine line of making sure that products that help our students are available in a safe and controlled manner, while at the same time seeing the bigger picture."

"[Those opposed to the policy] need to know that it's not my son going out and smoking a joint between two cars in the parking lot," Stormes said. "This is truly his medicine. These kids truly need it. This is their last resort. Give it to them."

District 49 just put up a poll about this proposed policy. If you'd like to vote, or care to comment on the issue, you can go to their website or any of their social media pages.

Again, the school board will vote on May 12.

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