Jack Splitt: Disabled Colorado student's cannabis medication confiscated, school cites federal law

Posted at 5:33 PM, Feb 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-10 12:59:46-05

A clash between state and federal marijuana law has a Jefferson County, Colo., mom trying to figure out how to educate her disabled son who depends on cannabis oil to treat spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia.  

On Monday, Everitt Middle School officials discovered 14-year-old Jack Splitt was wearing a cannabis patch and his personal nurse, who stays in school with him each day, was carrying cannabis oil. They confiscated the medication and told his mother it can't be on school grounds again.

"It scares me to death that medicine can be taken away from him, medicine that saves his life," said Jack's mother, Stacey Linn.
Jack's disorder causes his muscles to tighten up and spasm. He can't walk or talk and struggles to breathe.
"He loves to learn, and that’s his whole life," Linn said. "He doesn’t get to go play soccer, he gets to learn. And without these medications, he can't do that either. It's heartbreaking."
Linn said she's tried many, many pharmaceutical medicines, but found side effects like rage and short-term memory loss.
"They sedate him completely, they just turn him into a zombie," Linn said.
She said in the last year, she tried a cannabis oil called Hayley's Hope, which contains very low THC, the chemical that causes a high.

"Even if my 9-year-old drank a whole bottle of (Jack's) CBD, his cannabis oil, he wouldn't get high," Linn said. "There are no dangers to this medicine."

A district spokeswoman told 7NEWS school wants to do everything possible to help Jack, but is "between a rock and a hard place," since marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

"I believe we could jeopardize federal funding around special education students," Principal Jeff Gomez said. "There could be widespread implications across our school district."

Gomez said it's an issue that has to be addressed at the federal level, and in the meantime, nobody wins.

"It's not a comfortable position to be in," Gomez said. "And it's not fair to the family, and I don’t think it's fair to us as a school to be put in the situation."

Medical marijuana is outlawed on school grounds under state law as well.

"We have dedicated our efforts to supporting the child’s needs since the child came to Jeffco Schools eight years ago," Gomez said. "However, we are obligated to follow state and Federal law with regards to possession and use of marijuana products on campus."