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Bill Would Allow Students To Get Their Medical Cannabis At School

Monika Stawowy via PXHere
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State law prohibits public school students from using medical cannabis on campus. Lawmakers in Santa Fe advanced a bill Tuesday that would change that.

As part of our legislative coverage, we’re partnering with New Mexico PBS on weekly Facebook Live interviews on legislative topics. 

Find the full Facebook Live interviewon the New Mexico In Focus Facebook page and log in Wednesdays at noon during the session for more interviews.

KNME’s Kevin McDonald spoke with Jason Barker of Safe Access New Mexico about SB 204 that would make it possible for students who use medical cannabis to have their medication administered to them at school instead of having to stay home to get their health care.

BARKER: What we’re seeking there in the legislation is to make it so that all the students, pediatric patients, the kids that are attending public schools or charter schools or any schools in the state can still attend school but also receive their medical cannabis treatment in case an emergency comes up. The medicine being used would be nothing smokable, nothing vaporizable. These are medicines that are tinctures and oil use medications that are completely safe.

NMPBS: The idea here is basically that this is no different than a child who has another prescription drug at school that they need to take.

BARKER: Yes, that’s correct. For some of the kids that are treating seizure disorders, if they were at school and they were on pharmaceuticals, and not medical cannabis, then the nurse would be administering things like Xanax or Valium in emergency, and these are far more dangerous drugs than medical cannabis oils.

NMPBS: You’ve also mentioned online the possibility of the governor taking care of this through executive order.

BARKER: We’ve reached out to their office and [were] hoping that maybe Governor Lujan Grisham would be able to get involved and maybe expedite the process because she put forth in the campaign that she does support seeing this change happen. We have the legislation forward now. And just for the sake of getting the kids back to school, getting their education back going, getting them with their friends and the socialization, let’s just get them in school now.

NMPBS: What’s your gut on this? I know there [were] some changes to it yesterday. It came up in committee. And there’s already been some changes to it that some people seem to not be real happy about.

BARKER: Yesterday when it was introduced in committee, it was introduced with some changes that would prevent any negative implication against school staff that would not want to participate in this. We’re still waiting for the new amended bill and this amendment to be posted so that everyone can see it publicly and look at it. But the good news is this is the first committee we’re in, it’s gotta go to Senate Judiciary Committee next. We’ve got chances to get that corrected, get that amendment removed or tweaked a little bit, verbage put in there to make sure that legislation is going to help all of the kids. When we’ve got this going right now, we need to make sure it’s going to benefit all the kids.

Elaine Baumgartel was KUNM's News Director from 2013 to 2019. She was local Morning Edition host from 2007 through 2012 and she regularly hosted the station's live news and public affairs show for some years. Elaine originally came on board at KUNM as a volunteer and student employee in 2003.
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