Bill Allowing K-12 Administration of Medicinal Cannabis at California Governor’s Desk

September 13, 2019 Updated: September 13, 2019

A bill legalizing the ability for medicinal cannabis to be administered to children on K-12 campuses by parents was presented to the California governor on Sept. 6.

Current law prohibits marijuana in any form to be within 1,000 feet of school campuses. Proponents of the bill say this restriction endangers children who rely on medicinal cannabis, such as those who use the drug to control seizures. Opponents of the bill question whether the restrictions on medical cannabis for minors are tough enough, while expressing concern about allowing the drug on campuses.

The bill, SB-223, received support and opposition from both major parties. It was introduced by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and co-authored by Senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Jeff Stone (R-Temecula), and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Assembly Members Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), and Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita).

The text of the bill reads: “This bill would enact Jojo’s Act, which would authorize the governing board of a school district, a county board of education, or the governing body of a charter school maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to adopt, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board or body, a policy, as provided, that allows a parent or guardian of a pupil to possess and administer medicinal cannabis, as defined, at a schoolsite to the pupil who is a qualified patient entitled to the protections of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, excluding cannabis, as defined, in a smokeable or vapeable form.”

The Epoch Times attempted to reach out to the bill’s co-author Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), but he was unavailable for comment.

The bill received 43 votes in favor in the State Assembly, with 22 against, and 14 not voting. In the State Senate, the bill received 28 votes in favor, seven against and five not voting.

One Democrat who expressed vocal opposition was Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates).

“As a parent, I feel like this is crossing what should be a bright line in keeping marijuana, cannabis products out of our schools,” he told ABC 7.

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) also opposed the bill. He admitted that there were some compelling testimonies from proponents of the bill in committee. However, his concerns over the bill outweighed that of the testimonies.

“Attempting to maintain our schools as drug free zones is a worthwhile goal,” he told The Epoch Times. “[I] think we have to recognize the serious risks of recreational use of marijuana and the serious consequences of allowing more marijuana onto school campuses.”

Obernolte further pointed out the legal liability that school staff face, since the substance is still recognized as a Schedule 1 Drug by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

“Another [topic] that was never talked about enough in the committee presentation was the legal liability that taking an action like this would have to schools in California. We all know [marijuana] is illegal under federal law. If we are forcing a school to allow parents to bring marijuana on campus, what kind of liability are we exposing them to and are we prepared to defend them from the legal consequences of that should there arise a legal problem with the difference between federal and state law?”

The bill is now at Governor Newsom’s desk pending approval. A similar bill was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown last year.