Medical marijuana will be available with a physician certification beginning in 2020 in the state of Missouri.

The passage of the state constitutional amendment two, Article XIV, will not only affect cities and law enforcement, but will also affect local Nodaway County school districts.

The West Nodaway R-I Board of Education has been considering a new board policy for students and updating an existing policy for staff on the subject of medical marijuana.

Superintendent Shannon Nolte broached the subject at the June board meeting, with draft copies of the policies given to the board members for the July meeting.

West Nodaway belongs to Missouri Association of Rural Education (MARE) which sponsors Missouri Consultants for Education (MCE) which is the policy writer for the board association.

Nolte and principals, Holly Brady and Mitch Barnes, attended a legal workshop July 31 sponsored by the Mickes O’Toole Law Firm. The firm is the lead law group for MCE.

Nolte said the basic premise is for marijuana not to be used on school property by staff or students. West Nodaway is a safe school facility and staff cannot come to school under the influence.

Highlight of what Policy 4870 Staff Welfare and Drug Free Workplace will add is “employees may not be under the influence of marijuana while they are acting in the scope of their employment, whether on district property or off, or present at any school or district sponsored or sanctioned event.

“Employees may seek reasonable accommodations related to medical marijuana under the district’s policies and procedures addressing the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The policy will also address employees involved with transportation for the school district. This is a draft policy and has not been approved by the West Nodaway board.

Policy 2871 Student Services Medical Marijuana draft policy states: “The law does not authorize the use of medical marijuana on school premises, nor does it require or permit district employees to administer the drug to students.”

Nolte wants to work on a case-by-case basis with parents, students, staff and doctors to keep medical marijuana use away from school grounds and activities. He anticipates few cases will be allowed on school grounds.

“How can we do this without it being on school grounds?” he said. “We have to set up a plan.”

Medical marijuana will need to be secured and locked up. It will not be allowed to be kept in a locker or a teachers’ desk, but will be kept in the nurse’s office under lock and key.

Nolte reminded, “It is unlawful to use or possess marijuana on school grounds.”

A provision in the policies allows the board to suspend the policies immediately if the district’s federal funds are jeopardized by the administration of medical marijuana on school grounds or at activities to qualified students.

“I anticipate several other schools will be addressing the issue soon,” Nolte said.