Ashley Surin may only be 11 years old, but she is making huge waves in the cannabis world. In a thoughtful and compassionate ruling, a judge ordered that Ashley be able to use her high-CBD medication at her Illinois school to prevent seizures.
Illinois already has medical marijuana laws in place, but it had been banned from schools and other child-centric locations like playgrounds. Though this is clearly not carte blanche for medical marijuana users to start medicating in public, it is a giant step in truly putting the compassionate in compassionate use.
Ashley battled childhood leukemia as a toddler and was given several round of chemotherapy and spinal injections to combat the cancer. Though she thankfully went into remission, one of the injections triggered a seizure disorder, as reported by CNN. Since the age of two Ashley was taking multiple medications to fight off seizures, many of them with harrowing side effects.
Though the prescriptions did help, Ashley’s father Jim said that her health was deteriorating and that Ashley was “not herself.” “It was the most helpless feeling in the world to see her go down and not be able to help,” Jim said of one awful seizure that brought her onto a cement floor where she hit her head so hard that doctors had to drain blood from her brain.
It took doctor after doctor, but the Sorins finally found one who recommended a change in diet and medical cannabis. Ready to try anything, especially something that wasn’t another pill with another set of side effects, they got Ashley her medical marijuana card in December.
Now Ashley wears a patch on her foot, uses a balm on her wrist and occasionally, when needed, a drop of concentrated oil on her tongue. And it has worked miracles. Unfortunately, with the way Illinois law is written, it also meant that Ashley either had to stay home from school or sue the school. So they sued.
While a Federal Judge issued an emergency order allowing Ashley to go back to school, the Illinois attorney general agreed not to prosecute and assured school staff that there would be no legal ramifications for helping Ashley with her medicine.
Out of the 30 states plus the District of Columbia where cannabis is legal medically or recreationally, only three so far allow children with seizure disorders to use their medicine at school: New Jersey, Maine and Colorado. This new court ruling could have a ripple effect for the benefit of sick kids across the US.