Illinois Senate Passes Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana in Schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that the Illinois Legislature has voted to allow medical marijuana students to take their medicine at school. The new law, Ashley's Law, passed with a vote of 50 to 2 in the state Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), the legislation will allow children under the age of 18 to consume medical marijuana provided at least two physicians agree the child has a qualifying illness for medical marijuana.

The new law will also allow those children to consume the drug on school premises. The current law did not allow for students to consume medical marijuana on school grounds. School officials will not be obligated to give children medical marijuana and instead will permit a caregiver, parent, or guardian permission to provide the children with their medication.

No smokable medical marijuana will be allowed.

Rep. Lang told reporters that the vote is an indication that the stigma of cannabis is changing. The law, named after 12-year-old Ashley Surin, who uses medical marijuana for epilepsy and leukemia.

Parents Say Medical Marijuana is a Miracle

Ashley uses an infused-lotion cannabidiol (CBD) and a tiny amount of THC as well as a patch. Her parents said that the medicine had eliminated her seizures and given Ashley back her life.

Maureen Surin says that her daughter can now speak in run-on sentences as opposed to a few words at a time. Ashley Surin added she thinks and feels better – like they are witnessing a miracle.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and is classified as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin on the government's list of controlled substances. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states plus Washington D.C.

Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2014. The state program has approximately 37,000 patients, and at least 279 of those patients are under the age of 18.

Executive director Dann Linn of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in the state said that legislation helping children avoid medical emergencies while at school is common sense, adding that preventing a seizure is in the best interest of the child with an illness as well as the child's classmates.

The bill will now go to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) for his signature. The governor has 60 days from the day that the legislation was passed to act.