Lawmakers Consider Bills That Would Allow Medical Marijuana for Patients at Schools

A House bill to allow medical marijuana in Washington state schools saw its first public hearing this week, and the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate. State Representative Brian Blake co-sponsored House Bill 1060, which would allow parents to administer medical marijuana to their children on school grounds. “The bill that I worked with one of your listeners John Barclay, and he’s doing this bill for his daughter River.”

The House Committee on Health Care & Wellness took comments Tuesday, Blake added, “I think the hearing went well, John presented very professional heartfelt testimony on his daughter’s behalf.”

Aberdeen resident John Barclay told the committee on Tuesday morning, “My daughter River, I call Ducky, started having seizures in kindergarten, She was just over 4 years old. Until then she was marked at the top of her class, she was just brilliant. She has been delayed by pharmaceuticals.

Barclay said currently he has to pull his daughter out of school to administer CBD oil, the major non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, to control her severe epilepsy. He says the schools want to work with him, but their hands are tied, adding that this bill would help keep his daughter in class.

Representative Blake added, “I think the committee is sympathetic, there may be some minor amendments to the bill.”

The State Department of Health pointed out two conflicts with existing law, one defining a care giver as a designated provider, and another giving the schools acccess to the state’s database of medical marijuana patients.

Christie Weeks, Policy Council at the Dept. of Health said the bill could not grant access to the state’s database of medical marijuana patients, and noted they have 57 minors in the database.

Administering the marijuana is simple, for instance, River’s father adds 25 drops of cannabis oil into a cookie or applesauce, she eats it and the seizures are mostly under control.  Since Washington schools prohibit marijuana, River has to go home every afternoon to eat that cookie.  Sometimes she doesn’t make it back to school because it’s too disruptive.

Blake said that Senator Steve Hobbs has just introduced a companion bill in the senate. Hobbs sponsored a bill that passed last year to allow medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

House Bill 1060 and Senate Bill 5290 have bi-partisan support and a good chance to make it to both floors for a vote this session.

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