Last week S.3096, An Act relative to equity in the cannabis industry, became law in Massachusetts after receiving Governor Charlie Baker’s signature; however, Governor Baker decided to veto one section of the bill, Section 26. This section calls for the funding of a study that would determine the benefits of allowing students, potentially even elementary schoolers, to consume medical marijuana during the school day.
Section 26 has been of paramount concern to Representative Jeffery Rosario Turco (D-Winthrop). Rep. Turco views this section as egregious, dangerous and absurd. “Drugs have absolutely no place at schools or around young children. Period. This is not a fact that requires a study to determine,” said Rep. Turco. “As a parent of six young kids, the idea that we would transition from ‘Just Say No’ to possibly mandating, and therefore normalizing, marijuana usage in our schools is beyond the pale. While I am deeply disappointed this atrocious section made it into the bill, I commend Governor Baker for taking swift and decisive action to remove it.”
On August 15 the Massachusetts Senate referred the veto of Section 26 to its Committee on Ways and Means.
In its entirely, Section 26 reads: (a) The cannabis control commission, in consultation with the department of elementary and secondary education and the department of public health, shall conduct a study on the possession, administration and consumption of medical marijuana, as defined in chapter 94I, at public or private schools in the commonwealth as it relates to students who have been issued valid registration cards pursuant to said chapter 94I. The study shall include, but not be limited to: (i) an examination of policies on the possession, administration and consumption of medical marijuana by students at public and private schools in the commonwealth; (ii) an analysis of existing legal, regulatory and administrative obstacles to possession, administration and consumption of medical use marijuana at public and private schools in the commonwealth; (iii) a survey of available methods of consumption, administration and storage of medical use marijuana at public and private schools; (iv) recommendations on best practices for public and private schools in the commonwealth to ensure that students have access to medical use marijuana while also maintaining a safe school environment for all students; and (v) recommendations on eliminating obstacles and expanding accommodations to possess, administer and consume medical use marijuana at public and private schools in the commonwealth.”