Lake County schools to address medical marijuana policy

Next week, the Lake County School Board will discuss adopting a policy for students who are prescribed medical marijuana.

“This is a mandate from the state of Florida,” Lake County School Board Member Bill Mathias said. “We have no choice about it.”

The district received a letter from the state last week saying it needed to comply with the state’s law passed in 2017 that requires districts to make a policy on how students who need it, can have access to medical marijuana during school hours. Parents we spoke with had their concerns about the law.

“My opinion [is], no, but if I did have a child that was sick, but if my child was sick, I would have to,” Maria Vela of Sorrento said.

Another parent hadn’t heard of the law.

“I never saw this coming in a million years,” Farah Williams of Tavares said. “It’s kind of crazy. That’s all I have to say about it.”

Other school districts in our area have already adopted medical marijuana policies, including Volusia County. If the district doesn’t adopt a policy by the deadline, it could face penalties from the state.

Lake County School Board Member Bill Mathias said the district has already drafted a policy. It states medical marijuana cannot be stored at a school and that district employees cannot administer it. If a student needs the medication, then a parent would have to bring it to the school and give it to their child and then take the marijuana with them off school property.

“The school district doesn’t need to be in the business of dispensing marijuana,” Mathias said. “So, if a caregiver comes on site and administers the medical marijuana, we’re fine with that approach,” he said.

The drafted policy also says the marijuana cannot be taken on a bus or at a school event.

“It’s appropriate we have a policy about it and I think this one is sensitive, and again, it will take care of the child and really define how and where it can be used,” Mathias said.

The Lake County School Board plans to discuss this policy at its meeting on Monday night. The state says the policy needs to be adopted by the end of the year.