Students Allowed To Use Medical Cannabis In School Under New Illinois Law

By Paul Gaita 08/10/18

Both students and parents must first meet specific requirements in order to administer the product on campus.

students walking down the hallway at school

A bill that will allow parents or guardians to give medical cannabis to children in school was signed into law by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

HB 4870 was signed on August 1, 2018 after passing the Illinois House and Senate with near-unanimous support in May; the bill amends the state's School Code to authorize parents or guardians to administer a "cannabis-infused product" to qualifying students on school property or a school bus.

Both students and parents must first meet specific requirements, including double certification from registered physicians, in order to administer the product.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), is also known as Ashley's Law, after Ashley Surin, who filed a federal lawsuit against the state and the Schaumburg School District 54 in 2018 for the right to use medical marijuana in school to treat debilitating seizures.

As High Times noted, under HB 4870, the parents and children cannot use medical marijuana on school property without first meeting several requirements.

Both parties must enroll in the state's Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and receive a registry identification card.

Parents or guardians must also have a registration card identifying them as a designated caregiver, while students must be qualifying patients as established by the Act, meaning that they have been diagnosed with one of a number of "severe, debilitating or life-threatening" medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, muscular dystrophy, PTSD and seizures, including those related to epilepsy.

The medical marijuana used by parents and children also cannot disturb the school's environment or other students, which means that smokeable cannabis or vaping is prohibited.

Students can use orally-ingested cannabis oil or tinctures, transdermal patches or topical ointments. The law also states that a school nurse or other staff is not required to administer medical cannabis to students.

"This will open the door potentially for kids like Ashley and other kids in Illinois to have medical marijuana on school grounds that can be administered in a situation where it'll regulate these type of illnesses," said Ashley Surin's father, Jim Surin, in conversation with WCIS.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.