Anecdotal reports from school districts in the last several months suggest 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.
Initiative 502 passed overwhelmingly on Mercer Island, with 61 percent of voters voting "yes" to 39 percent opposed. Mayor Bruce Bassett urged residents to remain vigilant over restricting access of the drug to young people and children under the age of 21.
While . And the sale and distribution of marijuana is still illegal under state law, until the State Liquor Control Board comes up with rules on how to license the trade of marijuana products.
Below is a statement from State Superintendent Randy Dorn on what the law means to public schools:
The passage of I-502 changes nothing in public schools in Washington state. Certain drugs, including marijuana, continue to be illegal on school property and to anyone younger than 21 years old.
To receive federal funds, 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:
- 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.
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. 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.
Students need to be engaged and prepared for school. Marijuana doesn't allow them to be either of those things. Marijuana dulls the brain. It can lead to paranoia, short-term memory loss and depression.
And for those under 21, it is illegal.
Here's additional context and information on Initiative 502 on Mercer Island Patch:
- How did Mercer Island Vote in the 2012 Election?
- Letter: Mayor Urges Community to Guard Against Underage Marijuana Use After Voters Approve I-502
- Marijwhatnow? Your Guide to Legal Pot Use From the Seattle Police Department
- UPDATE: Legal Pot and Gay Marriage Closer to Passage; McKenna Trails and Other 2012 Washington Election Results
- State Liquor Board to "Carry Out the Will of the Voters" on Marijuana Initiative
(Ed. Note: The information above is taken from an OSPI press release.)