Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer 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 medical marijuana at school can be confusing, and if the law is not followed properly, could lead to student discipline.
JoJo’s Law Implementation Up to School Boards
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.
Check the School District Policy on Medical Marijuana
If a student has a prescription for medical marijuana and you (their parent) would like to administer it to them at school, check the school district’s online board of education page for current board policies.
If there is a policy allowing administration of medical marijuana to students at school, it is critical that the policy is read and understood by a parent, to ensure it is followed precisely.
Potential Student Discipline
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 skip the medication, they hand the medical marijuana to the student to carry, 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 a student 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.
Student Disability Support Plans May Help
Parents may also want to explore a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) to see what supports could be provided to help the student with their disability. The medical marijuana use or administration options (and other supports) could be noted in one of these plans. Parents may also want to look into a formal student healthcare plan.
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.
Student rights lawyer Michelle Ball assists with obtaining appropriate assistance and support from schools, defending unfair suspension or expulsion, and with medical plans, 504s, and IEPs (special education). As an education attorney in Sacramento, Michelle may become involved in matters throughout California, including in the bay area, Roseville, Stockton, Lincoln, Auburn, Los Angeles, Merced, Fresno, and many other cities.