The New Mexico State Senate recently voted in favor of a bill that would allow the administration of medical cannabis in public schools to students who are qualified patients, according to a report from the Albuquerque Journal.
Senate Bill 204 passed the floor in a landslide vote of 35-2, and there was little discussion or debate on the matter. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Candace Gould (R-Albuquerque), Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque) and Representative Gail Armstrong (R-Socorro).
Senator Candace Gould said the main idea behind the bill was to help solve the issue of parents of sick children being forced to make the decision to either send their kids to school while ill or be able to legally take their prescribed medicine.
“My constituent came to me, torn between using medicine that’s working more effectively for her child’s epilepsy with less side effects than the Valium she was using and being able to go to school,” said Gould.
At this time, there are about 175 students in the state of New Mexico who are prescribed medical cannabis. If the bill eventually does pass, it would mean that school officials would administer medical cannabis just like any other prescription drug. Districts would have the option to opt their local schools out, mainly due to the fear of losing federal funding. This could potentially present some issues down the line because of the continued illegality of cannabis at the federal level. Thankfully, the bill also has a built-in appeal process that would give parents a voice if their child goes to school in a district that decides to opt out.
Another outspoken supporter of the bill, Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Albuquerque), says that the bill address a real problem that New Mexico faces statewide.
“Since it is the policy of this state to support medical marijuana this is an opportunity to let our schools know that they need to support it for our children as well,” Lopez said during the brief discussion on the bill.
Now that the bill has passed the Senate, the New Mexico House of Representatives must pass it as well. Once that happens, Bill 204 will eventually reach the desk of New Mexico State Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who will either sign it or veto.