This letter from Amherst Regional High School Principal Mark Jackson was sent to ARHS families and is reposted here because much of the content is relevant to the entire district.
In the November election, Massachusetts voters approved ballot question #4: the ‘Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana.’ As a result, school districts all over the state are working to clarify the law for their communities.
While the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has described the new law as ‘a complex web of different rules…’, my goal here is to sidestep most of the fine print and focus only on the implications of the law for the high school and its students.
In December, I met with a representative of the Amherst Police Department to take advice on how to best summarize the law. They have reviewed and approved the summary below.
Here are the core provisions:
- It is illegal for anyone to possess or consume marijuana on the grounds of or within a public or private school where children attend classes in preschool programs, kindergarten programs or secondary schools.
- It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana or attempt to procure unless they hold a valid medical marijuana card.
The new law does not change the consequences for marijuana in school. Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 37 H still applies.
Beyond the law, there is our larger interest in the healthy development of our students. Marijuana use, in my judgment and those of experts in the field, doesn’t much contribute to this.
As always, our guidance department is available to talk with parents/guardians and families if there are concerns.
Mark Jackson, Principal