The number of states legalizing medical marijuana is continuing to grow. But now, the Colorado House has passed a bill that would allow nurses in schools to administer medical marijuana to their students.
Sen. Irene Aguilar and Republican state Rep. Dylan Roberts are sponsoring the bill, which was passed 47-17.
With six in 10 Americans supporting the use of medical marijuana, there is more support for its use than ever. But the use of cannabis in schools remains a controversial topic. According to supporters of the bill, if school nurses administer medication prescribed by doctors, then the same should be done with medical marijuana. But in Colorado, doctors may recommend medical marijuana to patients, but they cannot prescribe it.
President-elect of the Colorado Association of School Nurses, Patty Rojec, expresses concerns of school nurses being forced to choose between following the direction of the medical community and following families' wishes without clear directions.
“There is no precedent for that, nurses don’t get to choose,” Rojec says. “We’re afraid this bill puts us in a difficult position. Our scope of practice needs to change if this bill is to work. Physicians’ scope of practice needs to change.”
Currently, cannabis is banned by federal law as a Schedule I substance. This means the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assesses it as highly addictive with no medical value.
But advocates consider this bill as another step towards integrating cannabis into everyday life. Already, cannabis is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, and with the number of people expected to survive a cancer diagnosis being predicted to rise to about 19 million by 2024, cannabis and cancer research are changing lives of cancer patients.