Medical marijuana tolerance concerns Re-1 School Board member
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A local school board member is concerned that any progress made by schools in keeping kids drug-free is being jeopardized by the new medical marijuana culture.
“It’s going to have more ramifications for our school children than we think,” Myles Rovig expressed to his fellow school board members during a regular Roaring Fork School District Re-1 board of education meeting Wednesday.
Especially with the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries locally, Rovig said he fears there’s heightened exposure and a new tolerance for the use of marijuana that could extend to school-aged children.
“It’s suddenly a popular thing,” he said. “I think it makes our job a little tougher, and it’s something we need to stay on top of.”
Other board members agreed that the various issues and concerns related to medical marijuana, and the distinction between what’s allowed by state law and what isn’t, need to be monitored by school officials.
That could include a review of health curricula related to drug education to reflect the new landscape. Student and personnel policies may also need to be reviewed, Rovig suggested.
One school board member, Debbie Bruell, was appointed this week to a new Carbondale advisory group that’s studying the issue there.
That group is charged with making recommendations to the town council regarding the location of dispensary and grow operations, including proximity to schools, parks and other places where children and teenagers are present.
Re-1 will likely request to be at the table should similar groups form in Glenwood Springs and Basalt.
Several Colorado municipalities and counties have restricted where dispensaries can locate within their local zoning regulations. Most have limited how close to schools such operations can be, similar to licensing restrictions for liquor stores.
Rovig, who owns a commercial rental property in West Glenwood Springs near Glenwood Springs Middle School, said he had been approached by people wanting to open a medical marijuana dispensary there.
“They had no qualms with it being only 200 feet from the middle school,” he said.
Although local police have indicated they haven’t seen a marked rise in marijuana incidents involving juveniles, Rovig said he did some research into drug-related school expulsions. While Re-1 typically has had only a couple of drug-related expulsions per year in the past, this year there have already been 14.
“That number is skewed because we did have one big case involving several students at once,” he said. “But the school year isn’t even over yet.
“My concern is that it has taken away the element of danger, or at least minimized it,” said Rovig, who added he firmly believes marijuana use by teenagers to be a gateway to harder drugs.
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