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Illinois Children Could Be Helped by Medical Marijuana at Schools

Under "Ashley's Law," parents, guardians and caregivers would be allowed to administer medical cannabis at school, but school personnel would not be required to. (Twenty20/Kate Bilyeu)
Under "Ashley's Law," parents, guardians and caregivers would be allowed to administer medical cannabis at school, but school personnel would not be required to. (Twenty20/Kate Bilyeu)
May 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A bill that would allow children to receive medical marijuana in schools is awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature.

Supporters are quick to snuff claims that the bill would lead to kids smoking pot in schools. The bill dubbed "Ashley's Law" is named after Ashley Surin, an 11-year-old girl who wasn't allowed to take medical cannabis for her seizures at her school in Schaumburg.

Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, said the bill passed last week by the General Assembly will help a growing number of families who've found cannabis to be a viable treatment.

"This is not legalizing kids to be smoking pot in schools,” Linn explained. “For one thing, the Illinois Medical Cannabis pilot program only allows minors to consume non-smokable products: so, edibles, oils, topicals. "

While championed by Democrats, Illinois lawmakers from both sides of the isle are supporting the measure as it now heads to the governor's desk.

Linn said the bill is a common-sense approach to helping kids who may experience a medical emergency while on school grounds or on a school bus.

"The ability to prevent a seizure from happening even in cases of that child being in school, you know, I think that's something that's in the best interest of the child's health as well as the other children who may be in the proximity of that individual,” he said.

Illinois is one of 29 states that allows medical marijuana for treating patients with qualifying conditions.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - IL