How will the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use impact the Sandwich schools?
That’s a question school committee member Nancy A. Crossman wants her board to begin considering.
She broached the subject Wednesday during the board’s bimonthly meeting.
One important aspect to this question the board must answer, she said, is what the district will do if a student with a prescription for medical marijuana wants to bring the substance to school.
Committee Chairman Andrea M. Killion pointed out that there are rules that forbid students from coming to school with controlled substances in their possession, but then posed the question of whether or not the new law offers an exception the district must adhere to.
Ms. Crossman admitted that there are too many unanswered questions concerning the new law.
Ms. Killion agreed.
“How are schools going to handle it?” she asked.
The recently passed ballot question allows patients with a chronically painful or debilitating disease such as cancer, glaucoma, and other conditions to use marijuana for medicinal purposes after receiving a recommendation from a doctor. It also allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to patients. Patients who have limited access to these dispensaries may be allowed to grow their own marijuana. A person with a prescription will also be allowed to carry up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for personal use.
Voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved the question at the polls earlier this month. In Sandwich, the measure passed by more than 1,600 votes.
Superintendent C. Richard Canfield asked Ms. Crossman if the Massachusetts Association of School Committees had made any suggestions, or offered any guidance, on this particular issue.
Ms. Crossman said that she spoke with James M. Hardy, field director with Massachusetts Association of School Committees, and he pointed out that state law forbidding smoking on school grounds has not changed.
She said that she was told the association does not intend to set any new policies until the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is done writing the regulations pertaining to the new medicinal marijuana law.
Board member Travis M. Andrade suggested that the concern over marijuana being smoking in schools could be “much ado about nothing.”
Mr. Andrade said that federal law trumps state law, and federal law “prevents any such substances being allowed in any school that receives federal funds.”
“There’s no way the federal law is going to change,” he said.
Ms. Crossman continued to insist the school board take action.
“This is serious and we need to act as soon as possible,” she said, challenging the board to take a unified stand and present their thoughts to the state.
Ms. Crossman suggested drafting a letter to state legislators, but then admitted that there are too many questions that need to be answered before they could even start on such a letter.
She suggested that the committee first research the issue and then meet to discuss and agree on a unified stand on the fallout from the new law.
Ms. Crossman asked that the members research the issue, and a discussion of whatever stand the committee wants to take be placed on the agenda for the board’s next meeting. That meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 12.