Winslow, Waterville and Vassalboro schools are enacting policies to allow students to use medical marijuana in school as districts across the state move to comply with a state law passed last year that allows the practice.

The Winslow School Board on Monday voted to approve a policy that allows a parent or legal guardian considered a primary caregiver under Maine’s medical marijuana laws to administer marijuana on school grounds to a student certified to use the drug.

The Vassalboro School Board has taken a first reading of an identical policy and intends to have a second meeting in February, and the Waterville School Board will discuss the first reading of the policy at its meeting on Wednesday.

The three schools make up Alternative Organizational Structure 92, and share a superintendent, administration and transportation, but have separate school boards.

The policy enacted by the school boards was developed by the Maine School Management Association in response to a law passed by the Maine Legislature last year that allows students to take prescribed medical marijuana on school grounds as long as it is given to them by a primary caregiver.

AOS 92 Superintendent Eric Haley said Thursday that he does not know how many students, if any, use medical marijuana in the three districts. The issue of dispensing medical marijuana has not been brought to the school boards or administration by parents or others, he added.


The new policy also hasn’t sparked any public interest, although there were a few “raised eyebrows” by policy committee members when they learned medical marijuana was legal to use in schools, he said.

According to the policy adopted by Winslow, the adult administering must prove that he or she is the primary caregiver for the student, the student has written certification to use marijuana from a medical provider and the drug must be given to the student during the school day instead of before or after school. The marijuana must be in a nonsmokeable form.

Medical marijuana cannot be stored on school grounds and cannot be administered by anyone other than the designated caregiver, including school staff. The policy also states that the drug must be administered only in the principal’s office.

“The board recognizes that there may be some students in the Winslow public schools who rely on the use of medical marijuana to manage a medical condition and who may be unable to effectively function at school without it,” the policy reads.

Maine allows patients to get written certification from a physician to use marijuana to help treat a number of health conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease and chronic pain. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, although 23 states have laws permitting medical use of the drug and a handful, including Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Maine School Management Executive Director Cornelia Brown said that the association develops model policies for its members every year in reaction to new state laws that affect schools. The policy drafted for medical marijuana provides a little more guidance for school districts to comply with the law, Brown added.


“I think it spells out for the school department clearly, what their responsibilities would be,” she said.

So far, she has not fielded any calls from association members about the new law and did not know how many might be implementing the model policy, Brown said.

Earlier this month, the Auburn School District made national headlines when it implemented the same policy, and other school districts have approved versions of the model policy since.

While the Winslow policy was enacted smoothly, Haley said school boards are going back to existing policies and procedures on student conduct and rules for student athletes to see if they also need to be changed to recognize student’s legal right to use medical marijuana.

“The medical marijuana issue reaches its tentacles out in interesting ways,” Haley said. “It’s not just so simple as putting marijuana as a prescribed medicine for students, what other implications does it have for other policies?”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.