In a rather remarkable vote by the Illinois state senate last Thursday, a vote passed 50-2 that will allow students to have cannabis oil drops administered to them on the property of public schools if they have gone through the state licensing process and qualified for medical marijuana. The decision is now left to the Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner.
The overwhelming support from the Illinois state senate for what is being referred to as Ashley’s Law was triggered by Ashley Surin, a young girl that started suffering from seizures after undergoing childhood leukemia treatment. Her parents found only CBD oil with a little THC stopped the seizures and won a lawsuit they filed against the state that allowed her to wear a CBD patch at school. Despite the strong support from Illinois legislators, changing the law is far from a slam dunk since Governor Bruce Rauner is a strong opponent to legalized marijuana.
“We’re going in the right direction,” Ashley’s mother, Maureen Surin, said. Now the family is hoping they can join Rauner if he signs the bill into law. The governor’s office could not be immediately reached to say what he will do with the bill.
“We feel like we’re watching a miracle happen,” Maureen Surin said. “She thinks better, she talks better. She used to do one- and two-word sentences. Now she speaks in run-on sentences. Her life has been given back to her.”
But a change in state law would be needed to let other children do so. Since the state legalized medical marijuana, effectove in 2014, the state reports that it has approved about 37,000 qualifying patients, 279 of whom are under age 18. The drug remains illegal under federal law, but medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, and recreational marijuana has vbeen approved in nine states.
State Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, sponsored the bill.
“The vote seems to indicte a change in the train of thought about cannabis,” Lang said. “We may have gone over the hump in explaining what this product is and isn’t.”
Allowing children to take any form of medical marijuana on public property could draw the attention of the federal government as cannabis is still federally illegal. Governor Rauner has taken the side of Jeff Sessions on the issue of cannabis. He is up for re-election and one of his major rivals to takeover as governor of Illinois is campaigning on bringing recreational cannabis to Illinois, for which Rauner has been a harsh critic.