DENVER (CBS4) – A state lawmaker is taking up the fight of a Douglas County teenager whose school district, he says, is discriminating against him. Sen. Chris Holbert shared Ben Wann’s story on the Senate floor.
The teen has epilepsy. If he has a seizure, the only drug that could save his life is a cannabis-based nasal spray. Ben’s mom, Amber Wann, says she couldn’t get to her son’s school, Mountain Vista High School, in time and, she says, he’s deathly allergic to the medicine on ambulances.
The family begged the Douglas County School Board to let volunteers at school keep and administer the nasal spray. It refused.
In desperation, the family sued the district for discrimination.
“Their response was that Ben hasn’t proven that he has a disability. Just because they say no, the need doesn’t go away. So, we keep fighting,” Wann said.
Holbert is joining them in their fight.
“It just makes no sense that a school board would effectively decide which student could live and which could die.”
Current law allows parents, caregivers or school volunteers to administer cannabis-based treatment at school if the school district approves it. Holbert plans to sponsor a bill that would make approval mandatory, not optional, in cases like Ben’s.
“Why put his life at risk just to store this nasal spray in a locked box or desk or something, and if he has Grand Mal seizure, someone run and get it and instead of injecting with Epinephrine, that would kill him, use this. It’s not hard,” Holbert said.
Ben is hopeful the bill will pass.
“I feel like something good is going to happen.”
Douglas County School District wouldn’t comment on Ben’s case. To be clear, according to its policy emailed to CBS4, the district allows parents and caregivers to administer medical marijuana, but not school employees because it’s still illegal under federal law.