As students head back to in-person classroom settings, the challenges they and their teachers face are numerous and varied. Across the U.S., from New York to California, the policies regarding face masks, COVID-19 vaccination, excusable absences, and more are shifting as CDC guidance changes. Plus, that’s just half the battle—students also have to make up for a lost year and a half, in which their learning was very disrupted, despite all efforts to make things as smooth as possible.
If this wasn’t enough, teachers and administrators of middle and high schools have to deal with new state laws regarding marijuana use. It used to be simple—if you get caught with any hint of marijuana or tobacco smoke you were in trouble. No longer, though! Now, exemptions for things like medical marijuana and the proliferation of legal (in some states) CBD products, like CBD oil or CBD edibles, makes things more nuanced and hard to keep track of.
That said, vaping and tobacco use are always a no-no. Vaping has been linked to very serious medical conditions, and tobacco smoke or vapor for recreational use is clearly meant for older U.S. citizens. So, now that the kids are back in school, how can you know if they’re vaping, and how can you keep track of the ever-shifting legality of marijuana use? Here are some tips to help you navigate this rocky terrain.
Use smoke detectors to keep an eye on things.
Just like you have security cameras on the premises to stay aware of all happenings and a school nurse on site in case of a medical emergency, you need to consider installing smoke detectors around as well. Even though some states, like New York, have changed the legality of marijuana use for recreational purposes, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to know if your teens are vaping on site. That recreational use, while it may be legal at a state level, is still not acceptable at school and is certainly not legal at a federal level. There are actually specialized marijuana smoke detector options out there, ones that can tell the difference between tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke, so buying a specialized detector might be a good idea for your specific needs.
Stay up to date on state and federal law, and keep your teachers in the know.
As mentioned above, the legality of marijuana and tobacco use is different across the United States. Mostly, for a school administrator, it’s important to understand if you have students who are using marijuana for medical purposes. You may have students with a seizure disorder. Knowing that FDA has approved a CBD-based drug (Epidiolex) to treat seizures is very useful knowledge for the staff and faculty under your purview. That is to say, while you need detectors to stay apprised of any marijuana smoke or vapor at school, you need a reliable resource that allows you to tell which marijuana smoke is legitimate.
Thankfully, as marijuana use becomes more and more normalized across the United States, we’ve seen a rise in informative sites that help individuals understand the ins and outs of the realm. Websites such as American Marijuana can help you parse the legality of recreational use in your state, as opposed to medical use. These sites will walk you through the difference between THC and CBD and can describe the side effects of marijuana use so that they’re more easily recognizable. As you educate yourself on these details, it’s a good idea to keep your staff and faculty aware as well, perhaps in a briefing or meeting. Reliable knowledge can dispel misinformation and support a healthy environment for those students who need medical marijuana, while keeping the school a safe and thriving educational environment.