In a decision that may have a far reaching and long lasting impact, an Illinois judge has allowed an 11-year-old girl to use medical marijuana at school, reports NPR.
Although medical cannabis is legal in Illinois, it’s against the law for students to use it in school or have school nurses administer it. However, a judge has made an exemption to the law for Ashley Surin, an 11-year-old who overcame a leukemia diagnosis at just 2 years old. Despite overcoming the illness, chemotherapy left her having semi regular seizures. Her mother, Maureen Surin, told NPR that since starting medical cannabis treatment, her seizures have largely declined in number. “We’re amazed with her progress,” says Surin.
Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of Illinois, claiming that the state’s ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On Friday, a judge ruled in their favor after hearing from the school district, which reportedly had concerns that its employees may be subject to legal penalties for helping Ashley with her medications.
“What people seem to misunderstand here is that medical marijuana is a prescription like any other drug,” Glink said. “Prohibiting it in school would be the same as prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta.”
Lawyers for the school district and attorney general’s office will meet back in court next week to work on a long-term plan for Ashley and the school. Ashley uses a patch on her foot and an oil extract on her wrists. “No one’s saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class,” the judge said, reported the Chicago Tribune.
“Ashley cannot wait to return to school,” Glink told NPR. “Now, that will happen on Tuesday.”