DCPS to allow Medical Marijuana

Alex Metzger

DCPS has always had a strenuous relationship with marijuana, medical or otherwise, and this month the tides may be shifting in favor of the green plant. As a result of a national news story, DCPS is making another push at allowing students with the necessary accommodations to receive inhale based, non THC, medical marijuana.

The change was spurred after 11-year-old Zoey Carter, a student at DC’s Friendship Ideal Academy, had her battle with Frontal Lobe Epilepsy changed for the better after beginning to take medicinal marijuna. Before medication, she was contracting up to 65 epilepsy-induced seizures a day, according to her mother. After trying 17 different types of medication, the Carters finally landed on a low THC variant of medicinal marijuana taken through an inhaler. The medicine dropped the frequency of Zoey’s seizures to just three a month.

The only issue is that her school refuses to allow the marijuana, instead recommending a previously tried and failed sedative-based seizure medication. Carter’s mother sent an email to DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton requesting intervention for her child to get the treatment she desperately needs. Earlier this week she told Fox 5 News, “to sit there and watch my daughter suffer and fight and go through all that and to see her now thrive off of a plant with no synthetic anything… I have to fight for it.” 

Holmes Norton, wrote a letter to DC mayor Muriel Bowser and council chair Phil Mendalson requesting that all students who need medical marijuna have access to it at school. DC Public Schools says its policy is to “Permit qualifying students to receive medical marijuana treatment from health professionals, but charter schools are able to make their own policies on the issue.” The policy was originally passed in September, but with the publicity of the Carter case, DCPS is planning to fully implement the policy for all district schools under their jurisdiction.

The nurse’s office here at Wilson declined for comment while a DCPS spokesman says currently no students are taking advantage of the policy.