While the United States Federal Government continues to claim that cannabis is a deadly drug with no medicinal value, the state of Illinois is setting a new precedent by passing a law that allows all students to use medical cannabis in school.
House Bill 4870 was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday after it was passed by the state legislature with overwhelming support in a vote of 99-1. It amends the school code and requires all schools—public, private and charter—to let parents give their children medical cannabis at school.
“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.”
While the bill does states 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,” it also opens a door by allowing cannabis to be present on school campuses at all.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic State Rep. Lou Lang after a local family filed a lawsuit because they wanted to use CBD oil to treat their daughter’s seizures, which were caused by chemotherapy.
“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," Lang said.
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Despite years of propaganda and demonization sponsored by the federal government, cannabis has been shown to treat a number of illnesses, and the research on what the plant is capable of has only just begun. These studies include evidence that cannabis can stop HIV from becoming AIDS, that the majority of cannabis users give up prescription opiate medications, and that cannabis has a “significant” effect on killing cancer cells.
While the latest developments in Illinois regarding access to medicinal cannabis are encouraging, it should be noted that parents across the country have paid the price over the years because the same medicine that helped their children was banned by the state.
One family went to court in Trenton, New Jersey, in an attempt to be allowed to administer CBD oil to their daughter at school, in order to treat her seizures. Although the product was legal in the state, a judge ruled against the family, citing federal law and the fact that cannabis is still a Schedule I drug.
This massive change in Illinois, which is being referred to as “Ashley’s Law” is a result of the tireless work of the Surin family, on behalf of their 11-year-old daughter. As The Free Thought Project reported in January:
When she was much younger, Ashley found herself in a battle for her life as leukemia took over. Thankfully, she won that battle but not without consequences. As a result of the chemotherapy, Ashley developed seizures. Luckily for Ashley, however, medical marijuana helped to drastically decrease those seizures.
“We’re amazed with her progress,” Maureen Surin, Ashley’s mother told NPR. There was a catch, however, in treating Ashley’s seizures with cannabis—she couldn’t go to school—because it was illegal. Ashley’s family wasn’t going down without a fight though and this week, in a landmark ruling, she won that fight.
Now, not only will Ashley have the freedom to treat her seizures with a natural substance that has been proven effective, but other children in the state will have the same freedom, and the hope is that this new precedent in Illinois will spread to other states.