By Lori Lyn Lirio
DESPITE the growing the number of states allowing the regulated use of marijuana, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Public School Service still expresses its desire to maintain a drug free campus as it opposes the marijuana bill in the local legislature.
This after the Board of the Education approved the ratification of written comments to House Bill 20-178 Senate draft 4 to regulate cannabis in the CNMI.
In a report before the BoE members, legal counsel Tiberius Mocanu said the PSS maintained that employees and students cannot use the product. He said the PSS and the BOE have the control over the health and welfare of the kids in the schools.
“We have the ability to forbid this. The only way that will be forced on us is if someone went to court, saying he needs to bring that in school – if they sue us for that.”
In an interview, BoE Chairwoman MaryLou Ada said they opposed to marijuana bill because they wanted the campuses to be drug free and they wanted to have the flexibility to randomly test their employees.
“For example, we have some bus drivers that are taking care of our students – driving them back and forth – 10,000 of them. We want to make sure that they are safe and sound. We want to be able to deal with those things,” she said.
She added if the marijuana use is for medicinal purposes, they would require the employees to submit doctor’s prescriptions.
“We are and forever be a drug-free campus. We are using federal funds and we want to comply with the federal regulation that all drugs, alcohol and any kind of substance shall not be brought to campus or be used during the regular operation of the school or at anytime. So we have to remain drug free,” she added.
Early this month, the members of the House of Representatives passed the H.B. 20-178, which is now in the local Senate.