Will Other Schools Follow JCPS’ Lead In Medical Marijuana Approval On Campuses?

See how other schools are talking about cannabis in schools

Jul 1, 2024 at 2:46 pm
Which schools are making decisions early about medical weed in schools?
Which schools are making decisions early about medical weed in schools? Adobe Stock

Jefferson County Public Schools’ Board of Education made the decision early to allow medical marijuana on campuses for students who need it.

As Kentucky gears up for a change that could impact millions of people across the Commonwealth, students will also have access to cannabis with approval from a doctor. Medical cannabis is usually prescribed for those who suffer seizures.

Medical marijuana is set to become legal on January 1, 2025 after Governor Andy Beshear (D) signed Senate Bill 47 into law in 2023. Now, schools in JCPS will have cannabis on campuses across Jefferson County for students who are in need medically for the drug.

Though the rules on how medical cannabis will be used by students are stringent, including hiding students who are given the drug by either a guardian, a nurse or a staff member, JCPS’ move is significant, potentially starting the trend for other schools to follow the largest school district’s lead in Kentucky.

What have other school districts said about medical cannabis on campus for their students?

For many school districts in Kentucky, June is just too early to give time to medical marijuana discourse among each district’s boards of education. Given the timeframe is still under seven months away for the legalization of medical cannabis in Kentucky in January, many schools are thinking about other issues before the 2024-2025 school year begins.

Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS), the second-largest school district in the Commonwealth, stated in an email to LEO Weekly that it needed more time to truly grasp what medical weed would look like on school campuses, but that conversations have begun among families, community leaders and medical professionals to see how cannabis could make an impact on the district.

“As for the FCPS position on the use of medical marijuana by students, it came up for discussion during a recent board of education meeting,” said Dia Davidson-Smith, the chief communications officer and public engagement officer for FCPS. “It has been recommended that a committee of families, community leaders, school-based medical professionals, and school leadership complete a review and present their findings to the board of education.”

The third-largest district in Kentucky, Boone County did not return any comment on medical marijuana on school campuses after LEO Weekly reached out.

The fourth, Warren County Public Schools, which reaches nearly 18,000 students across Bowling Green, did respond. Lauren Thurmond, who is the communications coordinator for WCPS, said the board will not allow marijuana on school grounds.

“...After the first reading our Board has elected to not allow medical marijuana on school campuses,” Thurmond said in an email to LEO Weekly.

However, Hardin County Public Schools, which is the fifth-largest with a student population of 14,500 students in Elizabethtown, responded saying it has not thought about what cannabis would look like on campuses in its district.

“We have until January 1 to take up our policy on medical maijuana with our board, we want to use the next few months to study this more deeply," Superintendent Terrie Morgan said in an email to LEO Weekly.

Looking ahead, many school districts will have to make decisions that could either give students the medically-cleared drugs they need, or leave them without, risking serious harm for students that suffer seizures across districts in Kentucky.

However, there is still time, Governor Beshear signed the law noting the long time to legalization was to give more time to the Cabinet for Health and Family Service to establish regulations and licensing for businesses. Though more information has been released for businesses to gear up for what could be a large economic boom for the state, many are still in a gray area, trying to figure out what medical marijuana legalization will mean for their businesses.

Senate Bill 47 gave businesses in Kentucky the opportunity to obtain licenses to sell medical cannabis in the state, but the timeframe is long, and some businesses have felt confusion as to what to do before January 1, 2025.

Starting in July though, the Office of Medical Cannabis has begun accepting applications for cannabis business licenses, but those applications will stop on Aug. 31, so many businesses are already on the move trying to get a license before the beginning of next year.

According to the review process, the program will review the application, gather any information that was left out of the application, and then take up to 45 days to accept or deny the application.

Based on the timeframe given by the Office of Medical Cannabis, the application submission and review process could take over 70 days even if the application is completed correctly on the first try.

For now, many students with conditions will have to wait on their respective school boards and businesses across Kentucky before knowing whether they will get their prescriptions.