Mississippi schools may legally give minors medical cannabis

Schools may no longer technically be drug-free zones once medical cannabis is available in Mississippi.

The law allows for minors who suffer from debilitating conditions to use medical cannabis, provided a parent or guardian gives permission and a registered osteopathic doctor prescribes it.

The law also provides for use of the medical pot treatment in schools and daycares.

“Facilities such as schools, child care facilities and temporary care providers shall be allowed to administer medical cannabis in the same manner as with medical prescriptions,” it states.

While counties can opt out of the use of medical marijuana, school districts do not have that option. If the school is in a county that permits the use of medical cannabis, the school is required to make reasonable accommodations for students who need the prescribed medicine during school hours.

“Debilitating” may seem synonymous with “bedridden,” but the exhaustive list of approved conditions covers a much larger range of suffering patients. For example, students with ulcerative colitis or post traumatic stress disorder may have their bad days, but will often brave discomfort to be among classmates.

One condition common on the Coast is autism spectrum disorder. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 1 in 44 of 8-year-old children were identified with ASD in 2018. Those with ASD who suffer from seizures or gastrointestinal problems might benefit from medical cannabis, but it isn’t likely to help or be prescribed to everyone with the disorder. The decision to prescribe medical cannabis to a minor belongs to the parent or guardian and physician.

Conditions that qualify for medical pot

The following medical conditions or their treatment qualify for participation in the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program:

  • cancer

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Huntington’s disease

  • muscular dystrophy

  • glaucoma

  • spastic quadriplegia

  • positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

  • hepatitis

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Crohn’s disease

  • ulcerative colitis

  • sickle-cell anemia

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • agitation of dementia

  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • autism

  • pain refractory to appropriate opioid management

  • diabetic/peripheral neuropathy

  • spinal cord disease or severe injury

Also qualifying is a chronic terminal or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:

  • cachexia or wasting syndrome

  • chronic pain

  • severe or intractable nausea

  • seizures

  • severe and persistent muscle spasms including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

A dispensary employee holds a handful of marijuana on Friday, July 24, 2009. Two months after guests consumed food laced with marijuana at a wedding in Florida, the bride and caterer were arrested on April 18, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. Ed Andrieski ASSOCIATED PRESS

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