PED To Finalize Rules For Medical Cannabis In Schools

Jul 24, 2019

As kids head back to school soon, districts must contend with a new state law allowing students with a medical marijuana prescription to take their medicine at school. New Mexico health and education officials are working to iron out details like how schools will store medication and who can administer it.

The new law, signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this spring, is meant to make sure kids who need medical cannabis to treat things like seizures or serious mental health issues can stay in school.  

Districts can seek an exemption, but, as Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Abq) clarified at an interim Health and Human Services committee meeting Wednesday, that’s only if they get official, written notice that allowing medical marijuana threatens their federal funding.

“A school district would have to have some actual evidence that they were gonna be at risk of losing financial support for a particular program," said Ortiz y Pino, "before they could tell a parent, 'no, your kid simply can’t come to school if they’re gonna have to take cannabidiol.'”

New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel agreed, telling Ortiz y Pino "our understanding of the law is the same as yours."

Kunkel drafted the state’s original medical marijuana bill back in 2007.

But it’s the Public Education Department that will direct school districts and charter schools on just how to implement the new rules. PED will hold a public hearing about it Friday, July 26, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Mabry Hall in Santa Fe.

PED's notice of rulemaking is posted here. You can read public comments already submitted this summer here.

******

Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.