Comprehensive Bill To Expand Access To Medical Cannabis In Public Schools Clears Colorado House

A bill to allow access to medical cannabis in public schools is headed to the governor’s desk!

A bill that would expand access to medical cannabis in public schools in Colorado was passed by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday and is now headed to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. The measure, Senate Bill 21-056, was approved by members of the House with a vote of 57 to 6. Under the bill, children with complicated medical conditions would be able to receive cannabis-based medicines from school personnel while on campus.

If signed into law by Polis, the bill would help students access medical cannabis in public schools by requiring school districts to create policy “for the storage, possession, and administration of cannabis-based medicine by school personnel.” The Senate bill would also protect school personnel who elect to administer cannabis medicines to student patients, who must have a doctor’s treatment plan on file with the school. Cannabis medicines used by students under the measure must be in a non-smokable form.

Teen cannabis activist Alexis Bortell, who was instrumental in the bill’s passage, shared the news of the House vote in a Facebook post on Monday. Now 15, Bortell moved to Colorado with her family at the age of nine so she could obtain cannabis medications to treat her intractable epilepsy. In her social media message, Bortell also shared a statement she made to state lawmakers, in which she testified about the frustration she experienced trying to enroll in a school that would allow her medicine to be stored on campus.

“You can imagine my disappointment and anger when I learned that I wouldn’t be able to attend high school in person due to my medical needs,” Bortell testified to lawmakers. “I was denied admission to both high schools I applied to (the only ones accessible to me) because neither school would allow my medical cannabis to be stored on school grounds or allow a school nurse/staff member to give me my medicine when I needed it.”

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