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Kids with disabilities need access to medicinal cannabis in school

Governor Charlie Baker this month signed into law a package of reforms to the state’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry but vetoed another section of the bill calling for a study on pediatric medical marijuana patients consuming cannabis at school.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Governor Baker is doing harm by balking at this kind of use

Re “Cannabis law signed; one section vetoed” (Metro, Aug. 12): With all due respect to Governor Baker, allowing disabled children their medication in school for seizure control or other disabilities would not be the slippery slope the governor suggests it is. In most cases, as the reporter notes, the cannabis is CBD, or non-impairing cannabidiol, not THC.

As early as January 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement recognized “that marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely disabling conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.” In addition, not administering a medication for a disability would seem to run counter to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.


Initially, Baker was skeptical about medicinal cannabis. Then he had further skepticism about responsible adult recreational use, even with safeguards in place and additional state revenue promised.

Not allowing disabled children in school to have their prescribed medication is picking on the weakest of our society. In a way, the governor is correct in vetoing a provision for a study on pediatric medical marijuana patients consuming the drug at school. We do not need a survey; these children need their legally allowed medication in school now.

Dr. Eric J. Ruby


The writer, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is among the few board-certified pediatricians in the Commonwealth certifying disabled children for cannabis administration.

She’s been begging the state to grant this access for her daughter

My daughter and I came here seeking access to medical services not offered in Florida. She suffers from a group of rare disorders called periventricular nodular heterotopia, pachygyria, subcortical band heterotopia, and microcephaly. She has seizures and exhibits autism characteristics, and has been a pediatric cannabis patient of Dr. Eric Ruby for the past two years. She is 8.


After she was started on CBD oil, she went from one-word sentences to being almost fully communicative. Her behavior improved as she finally found her voice. I have been begging the Cannabis Control Commission and state lawmakers for the past two years for her to have access to medicinal cannabis in school.

We aren’t the only family with these issues. I’m lucky that I have the privilege, as a registered state lobbyist, to speak out, since so many others are reluctant to. Many still don’t have legal, safe access to medicinal cannabis for their children.

The original language in the cannabis industry law the state passed last week would have provided a simple fix by allowing certified pediatric patients to access cannabis medicine while at school. It was changed into more wait-and-see language, giving officials time to “study” the issue, and even that section of the bill was vetoed by Governor Baker.

My child and many others do not have a year to wait.

Michelle Novack


The writer is director of patient advocacy and outreach at Holistic Hemp Solutions.