By Lori Lyn Lirio
ALTHOUGH now legal in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the CNMI-Public School System will still maintain its old policy of prohibiting marijuana in schools.
Thus stressed Interim Commissioner Glenn Muña saying they need to maintain a drug-free campus to ensure federal funding.
“That is something we cannot afford to lose [federal funds],” Muña said, adding the PSS relies heavily on federal money.
“As you know not only do we rely on local money but we are heavily relying on federal money because it allows us to hire some staff. It also allows us to purchase instruction materials and make things happen for our school district,” Muña added.
In a recent report by PSS federal program officer Tim Thornburgh, the PSS received a total grant of more than US$47 million for the FY 2018.
Among the programs sustained by the federal funding are the free meals programs, Special Education, Head Start and Early Head Start, Leadership program, professional development trainings, and other development programs for the schools.
“Right now, PSS regulations have not change. We still uphold those regulations and our employees are not allowed to use it,” Muña said, adding they will still do random drug testing on their employees.
The PSS, according to the commissioner, is planning on reaching out to its employees to educate them on why it is illegal for them to consume marijuana.
“It is legal in the CNMI but it is not legal for the employees to consume because your workplace prohibits that.”
If a student was caught bringing cannabis to the campus, Muña said they will apply what is provided in the Student Discipline regulations.
“It is a drug-free campus. First and foremost, we would refer them to the law enforcement because it is a controlled substance that they could not bring in to schools.”