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Pasco School Board to consider medical marijuana policy

The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
Published Oct. 14, 2019

The Pasco County School Board had no plans to adopt a policy governing the use of medical marijuana at schools.

The procedures it had in place, board attorney Dennis Alfonso said, covered all the details without placing district employees in violation of federal law relating to Schedule I narcotics.

Then the state stepped in.

School districts across Florida received a warning in early October that if they did not have a medical marijuana policy in place by the end of December, the department would look into imposing financial and other penalties. State lawmakers had ordered school boards to adopt policies — not just guidelines — more than two years ago.

Related: <b>RELATED: </b> Marijuana policy in schools is a balancing act, Tampa-area district officials say

That message prompted Pasco district officials to change their position.

The district’s 'Use of Medications" policy is now recommended for an update “in response to recent communication from DOE Chancellor Oliva relative to medical marijuana,” assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley informed the board in a memo regarding pending policy revisions. “This revision proposes codifying the District’s current practices and procedures into policy so that we will be compliant with F.S. 1006.062.”

Currently, parents and caregivers may come to a Pasco school and temporarily take out their student to administer medical marijuana. The student may then return to classes.

The district does not permit the storage of medical marijuana at schools, and it does not have its employees administer it. This practice is similar to the one adopted in several other districts, such as Miami-Dade and Volusia counties.

The Pasco board is expected to hold a public hearing on several policy amendments, including this one, on Oct. 29. It would vote on the proposals at its next scheduled meeting.