BRUNSWICK

The Brunswick School Board on Wednesday night will hear a draft policy from the planning and policy subcommittee regarding allowing the use of medical marijuana on school property.

Assistant Superintendent Pender Makin said there has been a minor change in wording in Maine’s medical marijuana law that makes it illegal to discriminate against a student who has been prescribed medical marijuana to treat a significant illness.

“The policy that we are running by the school board Wednesday night is almost verbatim the recommended policy that Maine School Management Association and (the school’s attorneys) Drummond Woodsum are recommending,” Makin said.

Makin said the language was tweaked slightly to clarify documentation as to who was able to prescribe the marijuana, as well as to make sure it is vital the student have it administered during the school day as opposed to morning or evening.

The issue isn’t without its sticking points, however. Marijuana remains illegal according to federal law. School zones remain drug-free zones. Students will not be allowed to possess marijuana, nor will staff or visitors.

Makin said the law also only involves smoke-free marijuana that may only be administered by a primary caregiver and legal guardian over the age of 21 in an area of the school designated by the principal. The student would have to demonstrate that they need the drug in order to function.

The changes in the law, however, leave out students who are 18 years of age or older, leaving them with no guarantee of being able to receive treatment.

“What I find the most compelling and problematic issue is the law only addresses a minor student. So a student who is 17 and 11 months old is all set, and a student once they reach the age of 18 and they’re no longer considered a minor student, there’s nothing in legislation right now to protect their rights,” Makin said.

Furthermore, the way the law is written, no representative of the school may come in contact with the drug. School nurses or staff certified as residential medical assistants cannot administer the medication — only a guardian.

Makin said there hasn’t been any issues in Brunswick and said she could only think of possibly one student who may be impacted by this legislation.

Makin said the new policy is a proactive one, as there is a possibility the schools may be faced with this issue as medical marijuana is becoming more widely prescribed.

According to Makin, she expected the public to make more of the issue, saying she set out extra chairs for the meeting.

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Sticky issue

• THE ISSUE facing school officials in Maine isn’t without its sticking points. Marijuana remains illegal according to federal law. And school zones remain drug-free zones.



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