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School board asks lawmakers to introduce tighter medical marijuana regulations

History was made here in Florida back on November 8, when voters decided by an overwhelming margin to pass Amendment 2, which greatly expanded both the size of and access to the state's medical marijuana program.

While the law codifying this expansion of the medical marijuana program officially took effect yesterday, it will be some time before it's rolled out in earnest, as the language of the law gives the Florida Department of Health until July 2017 to draft regulations and until October 2017 to begin distributing patient identification cards. 

Interestingly enough, some school districts across the state are looking to capitalize on this brief interim, taking preemptive measures to prepare for what amounts to a major shift in the state's drug policy.

By way of example, consider the Miami-Dade School Board voted unanimously at a meeting held just a few weeks back to add three medical marijuana-related provisions to its 2017 State Legislative Platform.

Specifically, these provisions call on state lawmakers to do the following:

  • Prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries that sell more than just the drug (i.e., paraphernalia) from operating within 2,500 feet of schools
  • Follow the lead set by other states in outlawing medical marijuana products that resemble candy 
  • Ban medical marijuana from school grounds absent adult supervision

As to the impetus for this action, School Board members have indicated that it was not borne out of any opposition to medical marijuana, but rather a desire to avoid some of the problems reported in other states where the drug has been legalized for recreational and/or medicinal use.

For example, officials in Colorado, where marijuana is permitted for both purposes, have reported more young children being admitted to hospitals after accidental ingestion of marijuana edibles and an uptick in school incidents revolving around marijuana.

“It’s always important to be proactive and if you see this is something that’s coming your way, you have to have a discussion and you have to have a game plan about the changes this will bring for our school district and our employees,” said one School Board member.

It's highly encouraging to see the Miami-Dade School Board taking such a measured approach to such a potentially controversial issue. Here's hoping other school districts follow suit.

If your child is facing disciplinary measures relating to any type of school incident, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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