Williams Unified to consider cannabis policy

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The Williams Unified School District board has begun grappling with having to decide on a policy that either allows or prohibits parents from administering medical marijuana to their school-aged children on campus.

Under California law, singed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the prohibition restricting the use of cannabis for medical purposes from within 1,000 feet of a school was lifted as of Jan. 1.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, however, still considers marijuana a schedule 1 drug with the potential for abuse, the same as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy.

The school board made no decision on the controversial issue, and plans to continue their discussion to the Jan. 12 meeting to allow parents and the public to weigh in.

“Right now, we have no students (requesting the use of cannabis), but tomorrow could be another day,” said Trustee Sylvia Vaca.

California is the ninth state to allow medical cannabis use on a K-12 school campus, joining Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington.

California school districts are allowed to either implement the law similar to other medications administered, or prohibit it because California law conflicts with federal law, which does not recognize the use of cannabis as medicine. Neither does the FDA regulate cannabis for safety, nor allow it to be legally prescribed by a physician.

School Superintendent Edgar Lampkin said he expects the policy decision, which the district is required to address, to be controversial.

Even Williams school board members aren’t in agreement.

Board Chairman George Simmons, who is retired from the military, said he would never approve a marijuana-use policy of any kind because of the glaring contradiction of California and federal law, and would only consider such a thing if federal law changes.

“I will not disobey my oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution,” Simmons said.

Vaca said she would likely comply with California law if the administration of cannabis by a parent while the child is on campus is both requested by the parent and “recommended” by the child’s physician.

However, the board said they wanted additional research on the issue before they decide, including looking into what other school districts and states are doing.

The school board is currently weighing three policy options, which are available to the public at the district office of the superintendent, which – as of Jan. 27 – will be located at 260 11th St., Williams. ■