Governor of Illinois Governor Bruce Vincent Rauner signed legislation Wednesday allowing the use of medical marijuana in schools. House Bill 4870, also known as Ashley’s Law, amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.
House Bill 4870 was originally filed on February 14th by Representative Lou Lang (D) 16th District. Representative Kelly M. Cassidy (D) of the 14th District was the chief co-signer on February 27th.
The bipartisan initiative of House Sponsors includes Reps. Lou Lang – Kelly M. Cassidy – Carol Ammons, Nicholas K Smith and Laura Fine while Senate Sponsors include Cristina Castro – Laura M. Murphy – Linda Holmes – Iris Y. Martinez – Patricia Van Pelt and Neil Anderson.
According to the bill’s status on the Illinois General Assembly’s website, House Bill 4870, “Amends the School Code. Requires a school district, public school, charter school, or nonpublic school to authorize a parent or guardian of a student who is a qualifying patient to administer a medical-cannabis-infused product to the student on school premises or a school bus if both the student (as a qualifying patient) and the parent or guardian (as a designated caregiver) have been issued registry identification cards under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.”
Medicines to treat such conditions derived from cannabis include cannabidiol (CBD) or Epidolex, which treat rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome.
Medical marijuana can be more effective and have fewer side effects than other medications when treating some conditions, as medical marijuana naturally reduces inflammation, which is the root of many ailments.
The bill includes a caveat that “a parent or guardian may not administer a medical cannabis infused product if the administration would create disruption to the school’s educational environment or would cause exposure of the product to other students.“
Members of the school’s staff are not required to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a student.
House Floor Amendment No. 1 describes that in addition to a parent or legal guardian of a registered and qualified medical marijuana patient, an adult individual registered with the Department of Public Health as a designated caregiver may also administer medical cannabis infused product to that student.
The provision is referred to as Ashley’s Law, after an 11-year-old girl from northern Illinois who attends school in Schaumburg. Ashley’s school denied her medication, prompting her parents to sue their local school district.
“Children should not have to choose between their medication and their education,” said Senator Cristina Castro. “Qualified patients have the right to have access to their medicine no matter where they are. I am happy to see this measure signed into law.”
House Bill 4870 passed the Senate and House with unanimous support and went into effect immediately in the state of Illinois.