ASD Introduces New Medical Marijuana Policy

by Kara-Lynn Valliere, ’16, and Noah Libby, ’16

Due to a new medical marijuana policy, students with a certificate will be able to consume the drug during school.

Due to a new medical marijuana policy, students with a certificate will be able to consume the drug during school.

In response to a recently passed state law, a new medical marijuana policy is being introduced in the Auburn School District to help students suffering with conditions such as cancer, attention deficit disorder, and epilepsy.

This new policy was passed during the Jan. 7 school committee meeting, when board members voted unanimously in favor of this policy, which states that students may use edible sources of THC during school hours if they obtain a certificate from their doctor for conditions like cancer, eating disorders, chronic migraines, ADD, epilepsy, and other conditions. The student’s parent has to bring this certificate in to the school along with the dosage, which then has to be administered by the parent in an administrator’s office. This certificate is different from a prescription. A prescription can be administered by a nurse but the certificate means that the parents must bring it in and no one else is allowed to come in contact with the drug and it may not be stored on school property. Under the new policy, only edible forms of marijuana would be allowed.

This new policy has brought up some controversy in the school community. ELHS Resource Officer Justin Richardson had concerns with federal funding being cut or even eliminated. ‘It’s not federally legal yet,” Richardson stated. “Schools need to be careful.They could possibly lose funding.”

Some teachers agree that due to marijuana not being legal in the state, it should not be allowed at ELHS. “If it’s not legal in Maine, it shouldn’t be legal in schools,” said English teacher Jennifer Braunfels.

Multiple staff members agreed that if used for a medically documented reason and the distribution process is well regulated, it shouldn’t pose any issues. Rebecca Hefty, the health education department head, said, “They have to be consistent on the rules. It can’t be abused. Because of the procedure right now, it seems pretty fool-proof. It shouldn’t be a huge issue.”

Other staff members agreed. “If it’s helping a student, then why does anyone care?” said Ed Tech Alex Poulin. “It sounds a lot scarier than it seems.”

According to Richardson, the policy has flaws. “There should be a policy for kids under the influence. Teachers should be alerted, and it has the potential to be abused.” He feels like what is happening in the overall community could happen in the school community. “The system is being abused and too many people have their medical card.”

History teacher Erin Towns disagrees. “If it’s regulated the right way, it won’t be abused. It would be less of a problem, because ill students could come to school.”

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