OLYMPIA, Wash. — More than 50 children in Washington are authorized in a database to receive medical marijuana for various illnesses. The parents of some of those children on Tuesday lobbied lawmakers to allow cannabis inside all schools.
“Cannabis is providing my daughter with the quality of life I never thought possible,” parent Meagan Holt said.
Holt told state lawmakers from all over the state that her 4-year-old daughter Maddie suffers from Zellweger syndrome, which gives her constant seizures.
“Daily 911 calls, help, my baby isn’t breathing; none of the anti-epileptics seem to help,” Holt said.
After trying 25 pharmaceutical drugs, Holt says medical marijuana is the only thing keeping her daughter alive.
And for parents of kids with similar medical conditions, they say they are forced to pick between school and their kids' health.
“If I don`t give her that new dose, she would have seizures at school,” parent John Barclay said.
House Bill 1060 was inspired Barclay`s daughter, River, who suffers from epilepsy.
“If it (the bill) doesn`t go through, she doesn’t go to school, it would be pretty devastating,” Barclay said.
State Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, is sponsoring the bill. He`s passionate about the issue because Barclay is a friend and he`s seen the family`s personal struggles with River.
The biggest obstacle facing the bill is the concern from school districts who have to worry about federal laws prohibiting marijuana.
“I think there is a way to pass a bill to alleviate some of the concerns of the school district,” Blake said.
Blake added that he would not make school employees administer cannabis to any student, instead leaving that responsibility to the parents.
“It would allow the parents to come, child gets out of class, they step into a side room, a child eats a cookie, child goes back to class, parent goes home,” Blake said.
Some families would have to visit school several times a day, but the access would allow them to keep their children in class with minor disruptions. Blake said he has the bipartisan support to pass the bill.
“Some people who were up there who had a few doubts, I think we will be able to work that out,” Blake said.
Q13 News reached out to the Aberdeen School District because that is where River goes to school. The superintendent tells us the bill poses some challenges for school districts but he sees the benefits so he is not against the bill.
Two states, New Jersey and Colorado, currently have a law in place allowing cannabis inside school.