Superintendent Randy Dorn: Marijuana still not allowed at school

This article has been updated with a quote from Keven Wynkoop, principal of Ballard High School.

In case you were wondering, marijuana will still be illegal for people under 21 years old, which of course means students won't be able to smoke or possess marijuana, especially at school.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn issued a statement this morning reaffirming this. He also suggests that there is anecdotal evidence for increased marijuana problems at the school since I-502 passed.

However, that does not seem to be entirely the case for Ballard High School.

"We have not seen an uptick," Ballard High School Principal Keven Wynkoop said. "The reality is that even before it was 'legal,' students had no problem getting it if they wanted. Students will tell you that Marijuana was as easy to get as alcohol."

Here is the full statement:

Recent anecdotal reports from school districts 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. 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:

  • 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.

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.

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