Imagine this: two elementary students are in the restroom at school, smoking a bowl. And then, the principal walks in. Rather than flying off the handle, the principal smiles and reminds the boys to smoke it all before returning to class.
Depending on where you stand on medical marijuana usage probably colors how you feel about this scene. On one hand, you may be horrified by such a flagrant disregard for common decency. On the other, you might be satisfied that you live in a culture that can move beyond stereotypes and half-truths to allow people to take medicine that helps treat their symptoms.
I suppose you could be in the middle: Content with America’s progress and appalled that elementary schoolers are smoking when they could be eating a brownie to treat their Zellweger syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or Tourette syndrome.
Fortunately, things are not as bad as the scene painted above.
Elementary school students are not smoking their medicinal marijuana. Children with prescriptions for marijuana take their doses in the form of cannabis oil that is either baked into common foods or administered directly in its oil state. Prescriptions for medical cannabis are rare for children, but in the 29 states that have legalized it for medicinal usage, they are possible.
Only two states, Colorado and New Jersey, have legislation on the books to cover the administration of the drug on school property or at school functions. The fear is that if schools allow students to take a substance that is banned by federal law, they will lose federal funding.
In Washington, Maddie Holt’s mother, Meagan, is fighting hard to get the state to pass legislation that will allow Maddie to take the medicine she needs to control the seizures associated with her Zellweger syndrome. Meagan has gotten Representative Brian Blake on her side. He recently sponsored a bill that would force schools to permit the use of medicinal marijuana.
Naturally, there is opposition, even though marijuana has been legal in Washington since 1998. State officials are concerned that the nearly 300 school districts may lose their funding, which would be detrimental to all the students of the state.
Zellweger syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the mutation of any of 12 genes. Children can suffer from poor muscle tone, seizures, hearing or vision loss, and body deformities. There is no known cure for the disorder. The best treatment possible involves working to minimize the effects of the symptoms.
At one point, Maddie was taking more than 20 medications, yet still suffering from seizures daily. According to her mom, cannabis is the only treatment that has significantly decreased the frequency of the seizures.
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