Mother wants access to medical cannabis in the classroom | KOB 4
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Mother wants access to medical cannabis in the classroom

Brittany Costello
April 30, 2018 06:54 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – State lawmakers could consider taking up medical cannabis concerns in the upcoming legislative session.

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The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program was established in 2007 with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Since then, not much has been done to address concerns a growing number of parents have with restriction to that medical cannabis on school property, according to the Drug Policy Alliance who helped work on those initial guidelines.

The soft buzz of 10-year-old Anthony Brick's lunch box zipper is almost as calming as the effects of what's inside – a pill filled with medical cannabis oil is as good as gold for the Brick family.

"We would spend our lives literally living in and out of these hospitals and the pharmaceuticals would just dope him where he would just sit there with his head down all day," said Tisha Brick, Anthony's mom.

He was diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia, PTSD and ADHD. But four years ago, Anthony traded his hospital gown in for a pair of blue jeans and a lunch pail

"He couldn't do his schoolwork. He really didn't talk to very many people – medical cannabis has changed it to where he is more sociable," Tisha Brick said. "He can actually learn a little bit better and he can be around people and function like a normal person."

Brick said Anthony was a normal student who was enrolled in Estancia Elementary School.

"It's fun," he said. "You get to meet a lot of new people and I have a lot of friends there, and so we learn a lot about fun things."

But Anthony's mom said she had to pull him out of school last fall when the administration told her she would no longer be able to administer his much-needed medication while on campus.

In a letter, the superintendent points to a state law saying that, despite Anthony's medical card, cannabis is not allowed on school grounds.

He hasn't sat in a classroom since November. He hasn't had the chance to meet new peers or learn about those fun things with them.

"It's very frustrating," Brick said. "He's been out of school for the whole school year. It's impacted our lives in ways you can't even imagine."

Meanwhile, she is unwilling to sacrifice quality of life for the classroom.

"I would rather be at school than home," he says.

But Brick says she has exhausted all options.

"I want to create change statewide," she said. "I want all students to be able to school without being discriminated against."

She's hoping any other families facing similar battles will join that fight for change. In January, an Illinois family sued a school district and the state for not allowing their child to use medical cannabis in the classroom. A federal judge ruled in favor of that Midwestern family.

Brick said the goal is to get state legislators in New Mexico to take a second look at local laws.

Local advocacy groups said they’re also willing to look into it, and House Representative Tomas Salazar believes a discussion into this issue will be discussed in the upcoming legislative session.

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Brittany Costello

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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