The Columbian / Associated Press

Bill allowing for administration of medicinal marijuana on school property passes committee

ABERDEEN — An Aberdeen schoolgirl plagued by a seizure disorder that’s proven untreatable by mainstream medication is one step closer to finding relief today with the State House of Representative’s Health Care and Wellness Committee’s 13-3 approval of a bill that would allow parents and guardians to administer medical marijuana to qualified students on school property.

According to the bill summary, House Bill 1060 – also known as Ducky’s Bill – would require school districts to allow students to consume marijuana for medical purposes on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school sponsored event. School districts would be required to adopt policies to allow that practice. That policy would have a long list of requirements of its own, ranging from which students would qualify to the establishment of legal protections for anyone involved with providing that student medicinal marijuana.

“Ducky” is the nickname for River Barclay, an elementary school student who is only able to attend half-days of class because her seizures are “intractable,” meaning not controllable by any of the anti-seizure drugs available today, according to her dad, John Barclay. The only thing that has proven to give her relief from these seizures is marijuana, said Barclay. The bill, if passed, would allow him or another guardian to administer the medication to his daughter on school property.

“With four out of the five seizure medications she tried she presented with even worse seizures,” said Barclay. “The one that didn’t do that to her didn’t help at all.”

The marijuana helps with the seizures themselves, and also with the withdrawals that come from being weaned off the other medications she had been taking; the detox experience of these drugs can be compared to those endured by opioid addicts, said Barclay.

House Bill 1060 is sponsored by 19th District Representatives Brian Blake, an Aberdeen Democrat, and Jim Walsh, an Aberdeen Republican, and others. The legislation needs to get through the House Rules Committee to make it before the Legislature for a vote.

“I talked to Walsh and he said with that kind of support from the committee, and only one negative public comment compared to the dozens for it, he didn’t see it being held up in the Rules Committee,” said Barclay. He added that Rep. Joe Schmick from the 9th District, who is ranking minority leader on the Health Care and Wellness Committee, was key helping clarify certain provisions of the bill which that could help it through the rules process.

If passed, the legislation would be implemented beginning in September. There is a companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 5290, sponsored by Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, and others.