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Bill would allow school nurses to give medical marijuana

Bill

Recently introduced legislation in the state House of Representatives would allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students.

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, has introduced House Bill 1948 with co-sponsorship support from fellow Democrats Stephen Kinsey, Joseph Hohenstein, Carol Hill-Evans, Maureen Madden, Benjamin Sanchez, Brian Sims and Republican David Rowe.

Current state law allows a parent, guardian or caregiver to come onto school grounds to administer medical marijuana to students during the school day. Parents have to provide the school principal with a Safe Harbor Letter, notify the school principal in advance of each instance when the parent or caregiver will administer medical marijuana to their child, with the principal in turn notifying the school nurse.

State guidance stipulates parents have to follow all school protocols that apply to school visitors, administer the medical marijuana without creating a distraction and promptly remove any medical marijuana and materials from the school grounds. Schools are also required to provide a secure and private location for the parent to administer medical marijuana to their child. Students are not allowed to possess any form of medical marijuana on school grounds or during school activities on school property.

Kenyatta’s bill would authorize school nurses to administer medical marijuana and waive a caregiver fee if a nurse is administering the marijuana instead of a parent.

“While this guidance is aimed at preserving student and staff safety, it unfortunately places an additional burden on parents, guardians or other caregivers,” Kenyatta wrote in his legislative memorandum. “These individuals must already balance jobs and other obligations with caring for their ailing child, and may not be able to get out of work to drive to their child’s school and give them the medicine upon which they rely.”

The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren.

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