Can children use medical marijuana on public school grounds? If you’re a particular 11-year-old girl from Illinois, then the answer is yes.
On Jan. 12, 2018, a federal judge ruled that Ashley Surin, an 11-year-old medical marijuana patient, could use medical marijuana at school. Surin, who suffers from leukemia, uses a small THC patch on her foot to counteract the seizures that occur as a side effect of her chemotherapy treatment.
However, as medical marijuana is not allowed on public school grounds in the state of Illinois, Surin was not allowed to wear her patch. In response, Surin’s parents sued the school district and the state, claiming that barring her from using medical marijuana violated the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
“What people seem to misunderstand here is that medical marijuana is a prescription like any other drug,” Steven Glink, the attorney representing the Surin family, told NPR. “Prohibiting it in school would be the same as prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta.”
With only three states that allow the use of medical marijuana on school grounds, the federal ruling could have wider implications for Illinois patients. In the coming weeks, school district officials and Surin’s parents will meet to discuss a long-term plan for Ashley.