Social equity is a concept that applies concerns of justice and fairness to social policy. Since the 1960s, the concept of social equity has been used in a variety of institutional contexts, including education, public health and public administration.
The Public Education Department, Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, and the vast majority of schools in our state all have failed to establish reasonable parameters as provided for in the medical cannabis schools law. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not address this issue at the education town hall in December but since has pushed for her agenda for recreational cannabis legalization.
The state has three medical cannabis laws, all have multiple violations being allowed to occur and all are being ignored by the state of New Mexico. Medical Cannabis in School Law, SB 204, was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department and is not being followed. “Adequate Supply” and “Purpose of the act” in the original Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act are not being followed. Lastly, the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board did not fulfill its duties and responsibilities for the medical cannabis law.
The medical cannabis in schools law is written very clearly, and the PED and schools do not have the ability to change how the law was written or change the intent of how the law was written.
Medical cannabis is not a prescription and not prescribed. People in the state’s medical cannabis program have a recommendation for the medical cannabis program from doctors and nurses.
School personnel who would administer medical cannabis would be fulfilling that recommendation for that person’s certification into the program. These medical cannabis products allowed for use in schools are not a prescription, they are exempt from the state’s Controlled Substances Act, and these products are safer than using aspirin.
The PED, APS, Rio Rancho, and schools across the state are all disciplining students and their families, as they are denying eligibility to attend school by not allowing for a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school.
School personnel would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Cannabis in Schools law, the school nurse would be doing so as “designated school personnel,” and it would not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient who is a student from medical care at school.
Even further, the New Mexico School Health Manual states: “If there is not a school nurse to delegate medication administration the best practice is to have a parent/guardian administer the medication to reduce potential risk to the student and school district. This alternative is found to be impractical and may not be an option if the parent/guardian is not able, capable, or is unwilling.”
The intent of the Medical Cannabis in Schools law is to allow for that reasonable accommodation to be created. That reasonable accommodation allows these families to have a life by being able to go to work and to create a better future for their families. This allows for their student to go to school.
The Medical Cannabis in Schools law is clearly written in a way for that reasonable accommodation to be met by the PED and schools with rules and regulations that match the state law by allowing for school personnel to administer medical cannabis and by allowing for the storage of the students’ medicine at school. And the Governor’s Office should have been performing its duty to see that this law of the state was faithfully executed.
New Mexico needs to fix the medical cannabis program before passing a recreational cannabis law, period.