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Some school districts protest proposed medical cannabis rule

August 1, 2019
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, New Mexico Sen. Jacob Candelaria waits for debate on the Senate floor at the Statehouse in Santa Fe, N.M. New Mexico education officials have proposed requiring school districts to designate someone to administer and store students' medical cannabis — a rule some districts have protested. Candelaria says the rule is in line with the state law. (AP Photo/ Russell Contreras)
In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, New Mexico Sen. Jacob Candelaria waits for debate on the Senate floor at the Statehouse in Santa Fe, N.M. New Mexico education officials have proposed requiring school districts to designate someone to administer and store students' medical cannabis — a rule some districts have protested. Candelaria says the rule is in line with the state law. (AP Photo/ Russell Contreras)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico education officials have proposed requiring school districts to designate someone to administer and store students’ medical cannabis — a rule some districts have protested.

Albuquerque and Rio Rancho public schools have submitted comments against the state Public Education Department rule set to go into effect later this month, the Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday.

State law and the rule prevent students from self-administering medical cannabis at school. More than 200 children are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, according to the state Department of Health.

School officials have raised concerns that requiring someone to administer the medication could make it harder for schools to opt out as well as raise liability issues.

“Permitting students into schools who use medical cannabis is far different than requiring involvement of employees,” Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Raquel Reedy wrote.

Matias Trujillo said his 14-year-old son who is entering Rio Rancho High School takes medical cannabis oil three times daily to treat a severe form of epilepsy. He needs a school employee to give his son the midday dose or else his son could suffer seizures in school, he said.

“I want him to have an education just like everyone else,” Trujillo said. “I also want to be able to go to work without having to worry about leaving.”

Democratic state Sen. Jacob Candelaria said the department rule is in line with the state law. Candelaria co-sponsored the legislation allowing medical marijuana in schools.

“The statute clearly states that a school district can authorize either school personnel or a caregiver/parent to administer medical cannabis to a student,” Candelaria said. “Nothing about this proposed rule changes that. I do not believe it expands the scope of public school obligations under the statute.”

The rule is not yet finalized and the department is reviewing feedback on it, said Timothy Hand, deputy secretary of the department.

“The department’s intent is to adopt a rule that is aligned to state statute and provides clear guidance to anyone affected by the use of medical cannabis in schools,” Hand said.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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