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Sixth-Grader Permitted To Use Medical Marijuana At School

Thanks to a sensible court decision, an eleven-year-old will not have to choose between her health and her education.

Chloé Harper Gold

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Sixth-Grader Permitted To Use Medical Marijuana At School

In a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, a sixth-grader permitted to use medical marijuana at school has made local headlines. And has also potentially set an important precedent when it comes to pediatric medical marijuana patients. State regulations prohibit medical cannabis use in school or on school grounds. But this recent decision may be an indication that times are changing and that laws are catching up with science.

Ashley Surin

The sixth-grader permitted to use medical marijuana at school is Ashley Surin. At eleven years old, Ashley is a veteran of the battle against illness. Surin was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only two years old. The course of treatment was successful and she has been in remission for seven years now. However, she is now coping with a subsequent complication. The treatment for her cancer, the chemotherapy drug methotrexate, caused neurological damage, which in turn led to debilitating seizures occurring on a daily basis.

Ashley’s parents, Maureen and Jim, were able to secure a medical marijuana card for their daughter. In early December, Ashley began a course of medical cannabis in the form of a transdermal patch and a topical CBD oil. The treatment has a minuscule amount of THC; not enough, though, that the medicine produces psychoactive effects. She has had only one seizure since beginning treatment, which is a marked improvement. Her parents have even described the medicine as a “golden cure.”

But there was one more obstacle that Ashley had to face. Even though Illinois has a medical marijuana program in place, the state’s law prohibits the lifesaving plant on school grounds. Not wanting to have to make the choice between their daughter’s health and her education, the Surins recruited the help of an attorney. Together, they made the case that the prohibition of medical marijuana on school grounds is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.

And on Friday, they learned that their efforts were not in vain. Officials of the school district said that they will allow Ashley to have her medication with her at school.

Final Hit: Sixth-Grader Permitted To Use Medical Marijuana At School

Although the school district came to a decision in favor of the Surins’ plea, the sixth-grader permitted to use medical marijuana at school is not out of the woods quite yet. The school district must now work in tandem with the Illinois Attorney General to work out the finer legal points of this decision. A court date to discuss the matter further is scheduled for this Friday. But it’s important to note that everyone involved is trying to act in the child’s best interests. Because of this, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that the case of Ashley Surin could set a precedent for other children in comparable situations. Especially since other states, like Delaware, are starting to instate similar policies to help pediatric medical marijuana patients.

“This is not just going to help her,” Maureen Surin told local reporters. “I hope it’s going to help other kids down the road.”

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