Jojo’s Act Effective January 1, 2020
California state law SB 1127 “Jojo’s Act,” proposed by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), allows California schools to decide if a parent or guardian can administer medical cannabis to their child at school. Jojo’s Act was named after a high school student name Jojo, who suffered up to 50 seizures a day, and was able to control it with medical cannabis. Unable to medicate at school, his mother had to remove him from school grounds to administer his medication. The existing law in effect authorizes school nurses or school personnel to administer medication to a child with a written statement from a physician, and a parent or guardian. The new law allows parents to administer non-smoking/non-vaping cannabis to their child on campus during school hours. The purpose of the new law to allow the administration of medical cannabis at school is to assist students, such as Jojo, with severe medical disabilities. This is compared to children who can be administered pharmaceutical drugs, such as opioids, with a physician’s approval. Children who are prescribed medical cannabis require regular doses, which may occur during school hours. SB 1127 allows for parents to keep a child’s medical cannabis on file, come in to administer the medication, and remove all cannabis from school grounds after administration.
California's existing cannabis law, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), allows a patient or a patient’s primary caregiver to posses or cultivate marijuana for medical needs. Qualified patients are issued an identification card based on a physician’s recommendation that they are meet the needs for medical cannabis.
This law was met with many oppositions. SB 1127 was approved in by the California Senate in 2018 and was vetoed by Governor Brown in the same year. The governor states the initial bill was too broad, as it applied to all students rather it should apply to limited cases of students with severe disabilities. Governor Brown states that his main concern is the effects marijuana has on youths and is still skeptical about the health benefits. Similar to SB 1127, SB 223 was approved by new California Governor Newsom was signed into law of October 9, 2019, allowing the administration of medical cannabis by parents during school hours.
Key Provision of SN 223
- Parents must not disrupt the school environment during administration of medical cannabis.
- Parents must bring cannabis medication with them and take it with them afterwards.
- School staff are not required to handle or administer the cannabis at any time.
- Schools may choose to opt out of allowing administration of medical cannabis.