PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — UPDATE:
Palm Beach County School Board approves new medical marijuana policy.
The Palm Beach County School Board will vote Wednesday night on a new medical marijuana policy.
Supporters, including some parents, like it, while others have concerns.
This is the third time the school board is meeting on the use of medical marijuana/low THC medical cannabis within the last year.
If the new policy is approved, only the caregiver or parent of the child could administer medical marijuana to the student on school grounds. The changes would immediately go into affect. The policy already has the support of Kimberly Simmons, whose son attends Seminole Ridge Community High School.
Simmons is a medical assistant at Medical Marijuana of Palm Beach. Out of the 2,000 medical marijuana patients, only 10 are children. One of them is her own son, a freshman who suffered from social anxiety and stress.
"He was very stressed out and scared," said Simmons. "There were all those shootings that happened the year before at the high schools. He was very nervous at the high schools."
Fast forward to the end of the school year and Simmons says doses of low THC to treat her son’s anxiety significantly decreased levels of stress, which helped him socially and academically.
"My son is now in all honors classes going into his sophomore year and is doing great. All honors classes and all A’s," Simmons said.
Simmons is a proponent of the push to allow students to be given medical marijuana at Palm Beach County schools. But even her son’s doctor says she understands why there may be concerns. It’s still listed as a Schedule 1 drug.
"A Schedule 1 drug essentially means that this drug has no medicinal value and causes harm," said Dr. Joan Boijnath, owner of Medical Marijuana of Palm Beach.
In response to concerned parents, the Palm Beach County School District's policy on the use of medical marijuana/low THC medical cannabis would require a note from a qualified physician. And only the parent or caregiver of the child could administer a dose during school hours.
Additionally, school nurses, health care professionals, and staff would not be allowed to administer the drug. And the medical marijuana cannot be stored on school grounds.
Doctors WPTV spoke with say they aren’t surprised it’s up for approval on school grounds.
"Inevitably it has to go there," said Dr. Boijnath. "Parents have a choice now, and they’re choosing healthier alternatives for their child."
Jeff Kadel, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, and critic of the proposed changes issued this statement:
"One our main concerns is the misunderstanding created by the blended definition of Medical Marijuana. Everything from CBD oil, to THC/CBD oil, to THC infused produce and even hemp seems to classified as marijuana. So it’s important to understand that when we are talking about CBD only products, the risk reward ratio is less concerning than the THC type products. By allowing THC products on school campuses we fly in face of both the FDA and the federal government who have not approved these products as safe and effective and more importantly still consider them federally illegal. Equally concerning is the signal it sends to the rest of our youth. Who may reduce their perception of harm and be more likely to consider initiation. Because while the medical validity is still under debate, we know for sure that today’s marijuana is highly addictive and causes both short and long term damage to the developing brain. This puts the school board in a difficult position as state and federal laws are in opposition."
The entire Medical Marijuana/Low THC Medical Cannabis policy can be found here.