(Skokie, IL) – With Ashley, 11, who is fighting leukemia, looking on, an Illinois House panel last week approved – unanimously – legislation to allow parents to administer medical marijuana in elementary and secondary schools.
The House Elementary Education Committee voted, 9-0, on Thursday, March 7, to adopt a plan, House Bill 4870, permitting infused medical marijuana – not smoked – to be administered by parents or legal guardians on school grounds and school transportation.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), a candidate in the March GOP gubernatorial primary election, was among the “yes” votes.
The measure’s sponsor, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said the bill comes on the heels of a lawsuit on behalf of Ashley brought by her parents against Schaumburg School District 54 to permit to them to administer medical marijuana oil under her tongue or change a medical marijuana patch on the school’s grounds, which the district had to refuse because of an existing state law prohibition.
“Ashley has suffered seizures as the result of chemotherapy treatment, which traditional medications have failed to control, but medical marijuana could, and yet, unfortunately, the school district had their hands tied,” said Lang. “This legislation could help parents from across Illinois care for their children with severe medical conditions without having to sue their local school district to do it.”
The legislation requires all schools, both public and private, to allow parents and guardians to administer medical marijuana infused products to their child, provided that the child has a pre-approved medical marijuana card issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, on school grounds or on the school bus. Infused products include food, oils, ointments, or other products that are not smoked.
“Before anyone sets their hair on fire about medical marijuana in school, it’s important to understand that tots won’t be toking up in class,” said Lang. “Discreet, private locations in a school will set aside for parents to administer the product and have no impact on anyone else in the building.”
The state’s public health agency and the Illinois State Board of Education filed witness slips with the committee in support of the bill.
Lang also noted that Ashley has been now able to attend school without interruption and fully anticipate in class.
“Absent the medical marijuana treatment being available, Ashely would have been unlikely to continue in school,” Lang said. “Now, with the infused medical marijuana treatment, she has had few seizures and allowed her to refocus on her studies and resume a normal life as much as possible for a 11-year old girl.”
The bill now heads to the full House.
By: David Ormsby, Chicago Tribune