Re-1 School board on medical marijuana: Consider students | AspenTimes.com

Re-1 School board on medical marijuana: Consider students

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Roaring Fork District Re-1 school board members have issued a formal position statement related to medical marijuana and the impact its proliferation could have on students in the district.

“The board encourages all governmental agencies and affected community organizations to specifically consider the effects of their rule-making decisions on the drug’s availability to our students,” reads the statement, which was approved unanimously by the school board at its Aug. 11 meeting.

The statement is directed at local elected officials in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, the communities served by Re-1, who are considering possible regulatory controls on the growing medical marijuana industry.

That will likely include zoning rules to determine where medical marijuana centers and grow operations can be located, and how far they can be from schools. But it could also go so far as asking local voters to prohibit such operations in local jurisdictions.

The city of Glenwood Springs and the town of Carbondale are both in the process of drafting regulations directed at medical marijuana businesses. Garfield County commissioners also recently decided to put the question to county voters about whether to prohibit such businesses in unincorporated areas of the county altogether.

“I personally would like to talk the cities into also making it a ballot question,” said school board member Myles Rovig, who has been an outspoken critic of medical marijuana.

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Recent new state regulations imposed on the industry suggest a 1,000-foot distance between schools and any medical marijuana businesses. However, local communities are allowed to come up with their own restrictions.

The school board notes in its position statement on the issue that the district witnessed a marked increase in student incidents associated with marijuana usage and distribution last year compared to the previous year.

“The number of marijuana-related suspensions increased over five times from nine the previous year to 50 this past year,” according to the statement.

In response, the district reviewed and clarified its student and employee drug policies “to make it unequivocally clear that the use and/or distribution of marijuana/medical marijuana is unacceptable and will not be tolerated within the district’s realm of authority.”

The statement concludes: “We strongly encourage parents and community members to educate themselves as to the effects of marijuana on children. We need a community-wide effort to help the young people of our communities make good decisions when confronted with the temptations they will likely face. We feel that parents, teachers, administrators and community members should not underestimate the power of peer pressure, which will also affect our students’ decisions.”

jstroud@postindependent.com