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State Schools Superintendent Dorn: No Change in Marijuana Policies Following I-502 Approval

Marijuana continues to be illegal on public school property and to anyone younger than 21 years old.

Despite the public celebration on Dec. 6 when the first steps toward the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington state came into effect, pot remains illegal on public school property.

That's the reminder that State Superintendent Randy Dorn issued this week after his office reportedly received some anecdotal reports that there has been an increase in marijuana possession and consumption among young people, especially after the passage of Initiative 502, which legalizes small quantities of the drug for people age 21 and older.

Though it's only been about a week, Enumclaw Schools Superintendent Mike Nelson reports that there has been no noticeable change in student behavior locally.

I-502 changes state law but has no effect on federal law.

Some people think that a medical marijuana card is similar to a prescription for a controlled substance and can be brought to schools or the workplace, according to Dorn's statement. That is false. Having a medical marijuana card does not mean a student, or an employee, or anyone for that matter, can bring marijuana on school grounds.

To receive federal funds, school districts must abide by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and must have a Drug and Tobacco-Free Workplace and a similar student policy in place. Each district’s policy has a number of common requirements about marijuana and other drugs, such as not allowing any student to:

  • Possess,
  • Distribute,
  • Manufacture or
  • Be under the influence.

Any student caught will be disciplined according to local district policy and local law enforcement as required. Fines can also be doubled if the arrest occurs within 1,000 feet of a school facility.

Click here to read Dorn's statement in full.

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