FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools district leaders have agreed to allow students who are registered patients to receive medical marijuana at school.
The decision came two years after voters legalized medical marijuana in the state and after parents whose children have severe seizures asked for a chance to let the students use the drug while they're in school as part of their treatment.
The new policy allows the principal of each school to decide where the drug will be administered on campus and only in the form of an edible, oil or lotion.
School employees will not handle the drug. Instead, a parent or caregiver will have to go to the school and administer it.
"There are many students who cannot function in the classroom or attend school because of their epilepsy and seizures, and this gives students an opportunity to have some normalcy in their lives," board member Robin Bartleman said.
The district said students with cancer, epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson's disease or MS, along with other illnesses, will be allowed to take the drug on campus.
Voters legalized medical marijuana in the state in 2016.
"My daughter Rebecca has a severe genetic disorder," parent Seth Hyman said. "She has an uncontrollable epilepsy, and since 2014, I've been fighting for her and other children within the state for the legal use of medical marijuana to treat certain medical conditions."
Federally, marijuana remains illegal and school districts, including Miami-Dade County, worry about the impact such a policy will have on funding from the Trump administration.
"Although medical marijuana is available in Florida, it remains illegal under federal law," the Miami-Dade County Public School District said in a statement. "Until we receive further guidance from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health, the District will treat each request on a case by case basis. To date, we have not received any requests."
"I am a caregiver for my daughter," Hyman said. "I have an ID card acting as a caregiver and I'm the only one who can administer medical marijuana to my daughter."
The district didn't know Tuesday how many students are registered patients who qualify to take medical marijuana.
The board can pull the policy if the federal government threatens to withhold money over it.