Bill allowing medical marijuana to be administered on school grounds awaits Rauner's signature
If Gov. Bruce Rauner signs off on HB4870, medical marijuana can be administered on school grounds.
Passing through the state Senate at the May 17 debate, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), allows any student who is a qualified patient under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to be given the drug on school grounds.
Also known as Ashley’s Law, the bill is named after 11-year-old Ashley Surin of Schaumburg who suffers from leukemia and epilepsy, and found significant relief from the drug.
It was once again scrutinized by Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) over the notion of THC on school grounds. And again, Castro attempted to explain to Weaver that any THC in medical marijuana is specifically based on the height, weight and the severity of the patient.
“I understand that you don’t want high levels of THC because it gets them to a high state, but this is very unique to physician approvals and it is monitored very closely,” Castro said.
Weaver wanted nothing to do with it.
“Once we start going over these lines, it is impossible to go back,” he said.
He added now that medical marijuana is authorized in the state and talks of recreational marijuana are underway, lawmakers should pump the brakes on the issue.
“We are now talking about THC in a school setting and we also know the industry behind this is very aggressive in how they sell it,” Weaver said.
After Weaver encouraged a 'no' vote, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said since hearing Surin’s parents detail the “real-world problem” their daughter faces, he has found sympathy.
He said Castro put forth a reasonable solution and the Surin family brought forth a difficult, but not a unique scenario
“Other families are facing and will face circumstances similar to this family,” Barickman said.
Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Moline) also rose in support of the bill.
“I carried a bill a few weeks ago that stated CBD oil can be bought and used for consumption if under 0.3 percent of THC,” he said.
Anderson said those who are a 'no' vote should consider exactly what they are doing.
“We have a huge opioid epidemic in our state, yet we try to solve these problems with an alternative source that works that is a plant, but yet we provide less oversight for in statue for prescribing opioids,” Anderson said.
Anderson said paramedics carry morphine, which is heroin.
“It can be used for good,” he added.
Concluding the debate, Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) also questioned the levels of THC in the prescription. For the final time, Castro explained any medical marijuana prescription is tailored to the patients’ size and personal need.
Saying she was grateful for the healthy debate, Castro pointed to Ashley Surin and her parents in the speaker’s gallery before she encouraged her peers to vote yes.
HB4508 passed 39-6 and will now move to the governor’s desk.