Medical Marijuana Administration And School Discipline

Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball

  By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

In 2020, students were granted the right to have medical marijuana administered to them in school by their parent or guardian IF formally authorized by their school district.  The circumstances surrounding this potential opportunity can be confusing and if the law is not followed properly, could lead to discipline.

Per Education Code §49414.1 (aka JoJo’s Law), it is up to each school board

if they will implement a policy to allow a parent to administer medical marijuana/cannabis at their schools.  If there is no policy in place allowing this, there is no right to administer medical marijuana at school.

If there is a board policy, per §49414.1: 

(c) The policy shall include, at a minimum, all of the following elements:

(1) The parent or guardian shall not administer the medicinal cannabis in a manner that disrupts the educational environment or exposes other pupils.

(2) After the parent or guardian administers the medicinal cannabis, the parent or guardian shall remove any remaining medicinal cannabis from the schoolsite.

(3) The parent or guardian shall sign in at the schoolsite before administering the medicinal cannabis.

(4) Before administering the medicinal cannabis, the parent or guardian shall provide to an employee of the school a valid written medical recommendation for medicinal cannabis for the pupil to be kept on file at the school.

If your child receives medical marijuana and you would like to administer it to them during their school day, check your district’s board of education page to see if there may be a board policy in place.  If there is, it is critical that it is read and understood as far as what exactly IS allowed.  

If a parent does not follow the rules of their district exactly, the student could be disciplined.  For example, if a parent just can’t get to school that day, and rather than forego giving the medication, they hand the medical marijuana to the student to stick in their backpack.  This is not allowed and discipline could result.

There remain laws on school discipline allowing suspension or expulsion for possession or being under the influence of marijuana, and this legal conflict has not been addressed.  As such, parents may want to formally confirm that if their child is “under the influence” due to allowed medical marijuana, they will not be punished as this “influence” is medically authorized and allowed by board policy. 

Parents may also want to explore a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) to see if the medication use or administration options (and other supports) may be addressed in one of these plans. 

There is still a lot of confusion surrounding medical marijuana at school, and students get punished for matters relating to cannabis very frequently.  Be sure your child won’t.