Around 94,000 medical marijuana licenses have been issued in Illinois, and about 600 of them are for children under the age of 18.
Students who need medical marijuana – typically to treat conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy – used to have to rely on their parents to come to school and give them their treatment. Now, students can get their cannabis from the school nurse, or administer it themselves under the nurse’s supervision.
This change came about last year in an expansion of Ashley’s Law. Originally signed in 2018, it was inspired by then-12-year-old Ashley Surin of Schaumburg, who used CBD oil to prevent seizures related to chemotherapy. Under that law, only parents or other designated caregivers registered with the Illinois Department of Public Health could administer cannabis-infused meds.
The Illinois State Board of Education provided a webinar to train and certify school nurses to provide treatment for students. School administrators who complete the training can also administer meds.
The webinar advises school administrators to consult district attorneys for advice on complying with federal law, although the agency is currently “unaware of any school district that is in jeopardy of losing federal funds due to the authorization of the use of medical cannabis,” according to the webinar.
Medical cannabis can be given to “registered qualifying patients” at any school premises, including after-school activities and on the school bus.
The law covers public, private, and charter schools.