Dear Dawg: We have a student who has a prescription for medical marijuana. Is this OK at school????

The first reported case of a student using medical marijuana in a public school is from Schaumburg, Illinois.  The family filed suit against the district to obtain a court order to allow the girl to self-medicate with medical marijuana at school. From the news reports, it sounds like it was a friendly lawsuit. The school wanted to accommodate the student but felt that it needed the cover of a court order to protect itself. The court issued the order.

Could this happen in Texas?  In 2015, the Texas legislature enacted the Compassionate Use Act.  This law permits certain doctors to prescribe what is commonly called “medical marijuana” for patients with “intractable epilepsy.”    It’s called “medical marijuana” but the product that doctors can prescribe is a lot different from the stuff that Cheech and Chong use.  The Compassionate Use Act only authorizes the use of “low-THC cannabis.”  This stuff will not cause time to slow down for you, will not make you helplessly giddy, or otherwise take you to that happy place.  But it may be effective in dealing with intractable epilepsy.

So suppose you have a student with a valid prescription for this product. Can they possess low-THC cannabis at school?  Maybe. Consider this:

Texas Health and Safety Code Section 487.201.  COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES MAY NOT PROHIBIT LOW-THC CANNABIS.  A municipality, county, or other political subdivision many not enact, adopt, or enforce a rule, ordinance, order, resolution, or other regulation that prohibits the cultivation, production, dispensing, or possession of low-THC cannabis, as authorized by this chapter. (Emphasis added). 

If you read that carefully, you will note that it omits the word “law.”  Marijuana is prohibited on school campuses not by “rule, ordinance, order, resolution or other regulation” but by law.  Presumably, then, the school could enforce the federal laws that continue to treat any form of marijuana as a controlled substance.

But would you want to?  Our state law, the Compassionate Use Act, includes many restrictions and requirements designed to make sure that this “won’t-get-you-high-pot” is only used for the medical treatment of intractable epilepsy.  I doubt that school districts would want to send a student with intractable epilepsy who is properly using this drug as per a prescription to the DAEP.

That would not be Zero Tolerance. It would be Zero Compassion.