Illinois judge allows 11-year-old girl to use medical cannabis at school

"No one's saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class." -- U.S. Judge John Robert Blakey

Excerpted from NPR:

In a decision that may have sweeping effects, a judge has allowed an 11-year-old Illinois girl to use medical cannabis at school.

Medical cannabis is legal in Illinois, and it is against current law for students to use it in school or have school nurses administer it. Now, Ashley Surin is the sole exemption. She overcame a leukemia diagnosis at 2 years old with extensive chemotherapy, but some of her treatments eventually led to having semi regular seizures. Her mother, Maureen Surin, told NPR that since starting medical cannabis treatment, her seizures have immensely declined in number. "We're amazed with her progress," Surin said.

Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court against the school district 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," her attorney Steven 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.