GOP lawmakers helped push a bill through the House that allows medical marijuana be administered on school premises.
Introduced during House Floor debate April 18, HB4870, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), creates Ashley's Law and was written for an 11-year-old Schaumburg student who had to fight in court to have her parents administer medical cannabis to her on school premises to avoid debilitating seizures.
If passed, Ashley’s Law will make it legal for a parent or guardian with a medical marijuana card to administer the drug on school grounds.
Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) confirmed Lang’s bill would apply to any school district, private or public, including charter schools.
“Before you go on, I just want to say that this product cannot be smoked by children, it has to be an ingestible of some kind,” Lang said.
Presuming the same, Breen asked if each school district would have to adopt a policy to implement Ashley’s Law and was told by Lang his bill would require the school to designate a specific area on the grounds where the drug could be administrated.
Breen confirmed students are prescribed medical marijuana for cancer and Tourette syndrome, and asked Lang if there are other conditions children are being treated for with the drug.
“I just wanted to confirm you are not in any way expanding or changing the law on medical marijuana, you are just ensuring a more uniform way for those who are in schools to use the product,” Breen said.
Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley) also wanted further clarification, asking if the law mandates the administration of the drug. It does not, according to the sponsor.
“The school district will also have the ability to say we don’t have a ‘where,’ and it is too disruptive here, or they have the ability to say ‘we think this is going to disrupt any federal reimbursements we are getting, so we are going to reject this,’” Lang said.
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) voted yes for the measure in committee but questioned the bill during debate, saying the amendment in the analysis before her reads the school must allow medical marijuana to be administered.
“I just heard two different things on the floor here from what I read,” Ives said.
According to Lang, the school must allow it at first if HB4870 becomes law, but if it finds it is disruptive they can stop the administration of the drug.
“I just think we should be clear that the school gets to decide the situation and not the parent,” Ives said.
Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Hinsdale) said though she is comfortable setting forth the mandate on public schools, she questions making private schools do the same.
“Sick children can be in a Catholic school, a Jewish school or a public school,” Lang said.
HB4870 passed 99-1 and moved to the Senate.