Illinois Legislature Says 'Yes' to Medical Marijuana at School

May 18, 2018

The idea championed by both parties allows smokeless products containing marijuana oil to be administered at school by a parent or legal caregiver.
Credit Flickr User Mark / (CC x 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly approved a measure allowing parents to give their kids medical marijuana at school.

It’s named after Ashley Surin, an 11-year-old girl who suffers from severe epilepsy. Her doctor prescribed her patches with a small amount of cannabis oil on them, which her parents say has been a “golden cure.”

But when she tried to use the patches at school in Hanover Park, authorities said no because marijuana isn’t allowed on school grounds. Ashley’s parents suggested a plan, HB4870, to get rid of that ban for kids like their daughter.

State Sen. Iris Martinez, D-Chicago, is supporting the move. She says parents should be able to give kids the drug if they need it.

“Let them be the ones to say ‘I want my child to have this,’" she explained during a Senate floor debate. "The school districts should respond when it comes to the medical needs of their child.”

While Democrats have championed it in the last few months, even Republicans like State Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington offered support. He says allowing medical marijuana at schools would help solve a real problem.

“It is a difficult one for them, but is not unique to them," he reasoned during that same debate. "Other families are facing and will face circumstances similar to this family.”

Kids would only be able to have smokeless products, like patches, while at school. Their parents or caregivers also would have to dispense the drug somewhere in private.

Gov. Bruce Rauner will consider the measure when it arrives on his desk.