On August 1, 2018, Governor Rauner signed “Ashley’s Law,” which, under certain circumstances, allows for the administration of medical cannabis to students at school or on a school bus. Specifically:
- The student must be a “registered qualifying patient” authorized to use medical cannabis.
- The individual administering the medical cannabis must be a “registered caregiver.”
- Medical cannabis that can be administered at school includes only “cannabis infused products,” which are limited to “food, oils, ointments, or other products containing usable cannabis that are not smoked.”
- After administration of the medical cannabis, it must be immediately removed from school or the school bus.
Under the new law, which is now in effect, school districts are required to adopt a policy consistent with the above provisions. Such policy must also contain provisions allowing the school to prohibit administration of medical cannabis in a way that “would create a disruption to the school’s educational environment or would cause exposure of the product to other students.”
Nothing in the law requires school staff to administer medical cannabis to a student. The law applies to public school districts, charter schools and private schools. School districts and schools are not required to implement this new law if the “school district or school would lose federal funding as a result” of implementation.
The Governor’s signature on this legislation was not totally unexpected and follows on the heals of an Illinois federal judge ruling that an 11-year-old student is allowed to use medical cannabis at school. The judge found that prohibiting such use would violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and would be akin to “prohibiting other medications such as Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta.”
As noted above, this law is now in effect. Until such time as your school board adopts an implementing policy, school officials should allow administration of medical cannabis at school or on a school bus, provided that all of the requirements listed above are satisfied. Specifically, the school should obtain a student’s registration card and a parent’s registered caregiver card and keep them on file. Also, the plan to administer medical cannabis on school grounds or on a school bus should be reduced to writing so that such administration does not disrupt the educational environment or expose the product to other students.