The Palm Beach County School Board voted on Wednesday night to approve a new district policy to allow students to use cannabis medications on campus. Under the new policy, students who are qualified as patients under Florida’s medical marijuana program will have access to low THC cannabis medications at a designated location on school property, but not on school buses or at school-sponsored events. Medical marijuana therapies will only be allowed to be administered by a student’s parent or caregiver, who will be required to submit a form signed by a physician in order to implement the new policy for the child.
The policy allows for the administration of medical marijuana and low-THC cannabis products such as oils, tinctures, topical formulations, and edibles that have been purchased at a dispensary licensed by the state. Cannabis products ingested by smoking or inhalation are not permitted. The new policy goes into effect immediately. Other school districts in Florida have enacted similar policies for their students.
Parents Choosing Healthier Alternatives
Dr. Joan Baijnath, the owner of Medical Marijuana of Palm Beach, told local media that she wasn’t surprised when she learned that a new policy to allow medical marijuana products on school grounds was being considered.
“Inevitably it has to go there,” said Baijnath. “Parents have a choice now, and they’re choosing healthier alternatives for their child.”
Kimberly Simmons, a medical assistant at Baijnath’s clinic, is also the parent of one of only 10 child patients. Simmons’ son, a student at Seminole Ridge Community High School, was dealing with social anxiety and stress as a freshman.
“He was very stressed out and scared,” said Simmons. “There were all those shootings that happened the year before at the high schools. He was very nervous at the high schools.”
But with a low-THC medical cannabis treatment recommended by Baijnath to treat anxiety, her son is succeeding in school.
“My son is now in all honors classes going into his sophomore year and is doing great. All honors classes and all A’s,” Simmons said.
Opposition Fails to Block New Policy
Simmons supports the Palm Beach County School Board policy allowing access to medical marijuana for students on campus. But others are against the idea. Jeff Kadel, the executive director of the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, issued a statement expressing opposition to the district’s new policy.
“By allowing THC products on school campuses we fly in face of both the FDA and the federal government who have not approved these products as safe and effective and more importantly still consider them federally illegal,” Kadel said. “Equally concerning is the signal it sends to the rest of our youth.”