With marijuana still illegal in Illinois, students are prohibited from using it in schools. But that could be changing. A judge in Illinois just ruled that an 11-year-old girl could use medical marijuana at school, according to NPR. This new decision could have broad effects in the state and beyond.
Eleven-year-old Ashley Surin’s parents filed a lawsuit against her school district in order to permit her as an exception to the state’s laws. Surin overcame leukemia at age two, thanks to considerable chemotherapy treatments. As a result of the treatment, she suffers semi-regular seizures. Her mother says that medical marijuana reduced the number of seizures her daughter has dramatically. “She can think better, walk better, talk better. Her brain used to be like in a cloud,” Maureen Surin told Chicago’s WGN. “And now she can think clearer and she’s more alert. She can interact, and can go back to school and learn and not be in a cloud.”
In the lawsuit, the Surin family claimed that the ban on medicinal marijuana use violated the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. A judge ruled in the family’s favor on Friday, despite the school district’s concerns that employees could be penalized for helping Surin with her medication. "What people seem to misunderstand here is that medical marijuana is a prescription like any other drug," Surin’s lawyer Steven Glink said. "Prohibiting it in school would be the same as prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Concerta."
The Illinois Attorney General’s office and members of the Schaumburg School District 54 will meet next week to iron out the legal details pertaining to the new decision. In the meantime, Surin will be allowed to use her medical marijuana patch and oil extract at school.
Marijuana is now legal in 29 states, but only New Jersey, Maine, and Colorado allow students to use their medical prescriptions at school.