Rhode Island school districts must develop protocols for administering medical cannabis to students, the Providence Journal reports. The changes to the state’s regulations occurred last month and students must be registered patients, with a doctor’s note, and parental approval.
According to the state Health Department, there are currently just 22 patients in the state younger than 18 who hold a medical cannabis recommendation.
Medical cannabis was not previously prohibited in schools, Health Department Spokesman Joseph Wendelken told the Journal, but the revised regulation provides guidance to districts regarding implementation.
Under the rules, students with medical cannabis cards can’t smoke their medicine and it can only be administered in specific locations and can’t be administered on school trips. Students with a recommendation can’t be disciplined for treatment or considered “under the influence” of cannabis. Students can’t handle or administer the medical cannabis products themselves. A school nurse can refuse to administer cannabis to students as long as that refusal applies to all students and in that case, the nurse must make other arrangements for the students to use their medicine.
The regulations require parents to release schools from any liability unless educators intentionally disregard the provisions of the rules.
Michael Cerullo, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of What’s the Rush Rhode Island, told the Journal that the regulation’s definition of medical cannabis excludes cannabinoid medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which he said “makes absolutely no sense.” he added that he is also concerned that the “regulation does not make clear whether the prescriber must have a previous and ongoing relationship with the patient.”
The policy was developed by the state departments of Education and Health.
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