Illinois Judge: Pediatric Cannabis Patient May Return to School

11-year-old girl uses cannabis topicals and oil to control seizures.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Young Medical Marijuana Patient

After several weeks, an 11-year-old girl in Illinois has been cleared to return to school after a federal judge ruled that the medical marijuana patient would be able to bring her medicine with. Ashley Surin, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age two and currently suffers from seizures, was forced to stay home after school district officials pointed to cannabis being a Schedule I narcotic. Surin wears a topical patch and also uses oil and lotion several times per day.

Surin’s parents argued that the CBD contained within her medicine was legal, as it’s non-psychoactive unlike its counterpart, THC. However, the law in Illinois states that the prescription version of cannabis is banned from public schools. Therefore, the Surins decided to keep their daughter out of school to avoid potential legal issues. The family subsequently sued the district, fighting to allow their child to learn while also staying healthy.

School Officials Stated They Support Medical Cannabis

The school district’s attorney as well as the Surin’s both agreed that the child should be allowed to use her medicine at school.

“We, unfortunately, in some cases, have to abide by state and federal law that contradicts what the school’s job is for students and what our obligations are to serve medically fragile and ill students,” said Darcy Kriha, the district’s attorney, in an interview with WNEP News. “The judge changed Ashley’s life today and they may have also changed the lives for other children for the better,” Kriha said.

While this ruling only applies to Surin’s case, it may set a precedent for similar cases throughout Illinois. Four states - Washington, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey - currently have rules on the books to protect pediatric cannabis patients.

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