Muriel Bowser

DC Permits Medical Marijuana in Public Schools

D.C. Public Schools clarified its policy on medical marijuana, saying health professionals will administer medical marijuana to students in schools.

Zoey Carty, 11, suffers from frontal lobe epilepsy and experiences seizures, sometimes up to dozens of times a day.

Zoey’s mother, Dawn Lee-Carty, found prescription drugs didn't work.

“They don't make me feel good," Zoey said. "They make me want to go lay down, they give me headaches and leg aches, and they just don't feel good. I get tired afterwards."

They said the only form of treatment for her severe seizures has been medical marijuana and CBD oil, which she takes through a small inhaler. But D.C. public law banned Zoey from taking her medicine at school.

Her mother said it “means the world” to see her daughter alert and happy.

“To have a place where she belongs means the world to me,” Lee-Carty said.


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The debate surrounding medical marijuana in schools is playing out across the country. While more than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana, most don't allow it in schools.

D.C. law makes it legal for minors to qualify for medical marijuana treatment, but the law is silent when it comes to being used in schools.

Zoey’s mother called council members, the mayor’s office and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. On Friday, Norton sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson advocating on behalf of Zoey’s condition.

“A policy, compliant with federal law, that would allow the student to use her medical marijuana inhaler in school would prove beneficial to this student,” the letter reads. “Medical marijuana, of course, is already legal in the District, and it would seem logical to allow consumption of this medicine, especially when needed immediately, where the student frequently is — at school.”

On Tuesday, D.C. Public Schools clarified its policy, telling News4 health professionals will administer medical marijuana to students in schools.

“That's good. That's good, and now we need to make it 50 states,” Lee-Carty said. “I mean I'm so happy that D.C. schools are able to do this, but it should be able to touch all 50 states because this is not an isolated incident.”

“Friendship Public Charter School is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of every student," Zoey's school said in a statement. "Regardless of the type of medication, our policy is to administer medication to students that has been authorized by a physician at the request of the parent. As directed by D.C. law, parents are required to submit and schools must maintain physician-authorized documentation that outlines medical treatment for students during the school day.”

“That’s another thing that doesn’t make me feel good,” Zoey said. “I should go to school either way, medicine or no medicine.”

This story has been updated with a statement from Friendship Public Charter School.

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