The Collier County School District is close to approving a new policy that would allow students to use medical marijuana on their campuses.
Under a 2017 Florida law, school districts are required to approve a policy for qualified students by Dec. 31. School board members started discussions on the policy Tuesday.
District officials are expected to vote on the policy ahead of the state’s December deadline at a Nov. 12 special board meeting.
The school district already has a procedure for students who use medical marijuana while on school grounds.
Collier students who qualify for medical marijuana use are not allowed to possess it on campus except at a designated point, where a caregiver or guardian administers treatments.
Under the procedure, schools provide a private location for students to receive their treatment from a caregiver. No school employees are allowed to administer doses to students.
Several parts of the procedure were incorporated into the drafted policy, district officials said.
In Lee County, the school board reviewed a proposed policy and planned a vote for November.
In October, the state’s Department of Education sent out a memo that reminded school district superintendents about the upcoming deadline for boards to adopt policies.
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Chad Oliver, a district spokesman, said the district is not aware of any students who are receiving medical marijuana by a caregiver on a school campus.
“District personnel are not involved in the administration process of a qualified student needing medical marijuana,” Oliver said.
Vice Chairwoman Stephanie Lucarelli questioned where CBD oil, or Cannabidiol oil, comes into play within the policy.
“Regarding CBD oil we have reached out to the Florida Department of Health, which administers the medical marijuana program, for guidance about that question,” Eileen Vargo, the district’s health services coordinator said.
The state health department said it can be administered on school grounds if all protocol is followed, including a prescription required from a registered physician.
Board member Erick Carter asked about daily dosage for CBD oil. Students can only bring a daily dose despite a typically larger container of the substance, Vargo said.
A clause within the proposed policy states if the federal government informs the district that their funds are in “any way jeopardized by this policy and its implementation, the board hereby declares that the policy will be suspended immediately.”
District counsel Jon Fishbane said medical marijuana use on school campuses is a collision of state and federal law.
Board member Jory Westberry praised how easy it is to comprehend the policy proposal.
“I think it’s very clear how this is going to be done,” board member Jory Westberry said.
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