The Massachusetts legislature wants to keep the “high” in high school.
Lawmakers, in all their infinite wisdom, put a little-noted provision in the cannabis reform bill that would examine whether medical marijuana should be introduced to middle and elementary school children.
Read the bill: Cannabis Reform Act
The bill was hastily passed at the end of this year’s legislative session, as usual with little public debate.
Here is the verbatim text from section 26:
“The Cannabis Control Commission, in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health, will conduct an investigation into the possession, administration and consumption of medicinal marijuana, as defined in Chapter 941, in public or private schools in the Commonwealth in respect of students who have been issued with valid registration cards under said Chapter 941.”
Democrats and Republicans on the conference committee, as well as House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate Speaker Karen Spilka, all signed on to the language, further stating that the “study” will include an “examination” of policies on the possession and consumption of medical marijuana by schoolchildren,” a statement said. analysis” of existing legal barriers, a “study of available methods” for consumption and storage of medical marijuana in schools, “best practice recommendations … to ensure students have access” to medical marijuana, and “recommendations for removing barriers and expanding accommodations to possess, administer, and consume medical marijuana” in public and private schools.
It’s a bit cumbersome, but quite comprehensive and obvious that this could open the door for elementary and middle school kids consuming medical marijuana, despite well-documented potential adverse effects on children.
And it could have been worse. The legislature has omitted a Senate provision to provide medical marijuana to students and inmates.
But what is not being said in the language of this conference committee is that weed can even be dangerous for underage children, who are not allowed to consume recreational cannabis under current law.
It is now up to Governor Charlie Baker, who is not a keen proponent of marijuana use, to sign or reject the bill or to recommend amendments or changes to the bill.
He could certainly remove section 26 from the bill, but the legislature could also step in to reintroduce the language.
It’s all part of the effort to normalize cannabis and its medicinal effects. Recreational weed and medical marijuana are all legal under current Massachusetts law.
And if you like the idea of your kids getting legally stoned in school, this bill is perfect for you.
The bill pending Baker’s signature would also make major changes to the industry, creating a pool of funds for more diverse and traditionally disenfranchised marijuana operators to make it more equitable.
As much as 15% of the state’s tax revenue from pot sales would go to the fund, which would provide grants and loans.
The bill would also increase state oversight of community-state financial agreements and open the door to local consumption establishments.
Baker’s aides say he’s studying the bill but won’t give any hints as to what he might sign or reject.
Let’s hope he reads this one carefully.