DENVER – Children who use medical marijuana will be allowed to bring their medicine to school after legislation was signed by the governor Monday.
Surrounded by patients and their families at a Denver police station, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, pointed out that the measure also aims at cracking down on people abusing the medical marijuana system by diverting cannabis to the black market.
But it was the patient component that unified many policymakers around the cause. Watching the signing ceremony was Jack Splitt, a 14-year-old who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and dystonia. The condition is so severe that Jack’s body becomes twisted, sometimes causing him to choke.
The pharmaceutical medication that Jack took left him so sedated he was unable to move. But certain strains of cannabis, which are low in psychoactive properties but high in several healing qualities, have allowed Jack to regain some normalcy, without the life-altering side effects.
An amendment that was added to the medical marijuana bill to address the school issue is called the “Jack Amendment,” named for Jack, after his medication was confiscated by a Jefferson County school when administrators discovered he had cannabis medication on grounds. That incident sparked lawmakers to jump to action.
“I’m hearing from mothers all over the country, begging me for help, ‘My kid is dying, can you please help?’” said Stacey Linn, Jack’s mother. “This has to stop. It’s barbaric. Prohibition is barbaric.”
The law also addresses an inadequate medical marijuana database in Colorado, requiring caregivers to register with the state if they are growing between 36 and 99 plants for patients; more than 99 plants and growers would need to apply for a license. Law enforcement encouraged a more robust registry system, so they can weed out those hiding behind the medical system to sell illegally.
“If you talk to people that voted to legalize it, we hear again and again that ultimately, if we do this right, there will be no black market,” Hickenlooper said. “That, sadly, is not the case yet.”