Only three states, New Jersey, Maine and Colorado, require schools to permit students to use medical marijuana in school in accordance with those states’ laws. A fourth state, Washington, permits schools to decide whether or not to allow students to use medical marijuana. But one eleven year old girl in Illinois will now also be allowed to use medical marijuana in school.
A.S. was prescribed medical marijuana, in the form of cannabidiol patches, oil and lotion, to help control debilitating seizures she has suffered since the age of two. Under Illinois law, prescription marijuana may not be used at school, and any nurse or teacher would be subject to penalties for administering or even a helping a student self-administer a medical marijuana prescription. So the student’s school district felt it had no choice but to prohibit A.S. from using medical marijuana in school unless court-ordered to do so. The family sued the school district in federal court in January. Ultimately, the school district supported the parent’s petition, in order to meet its “obligations to serve medically fragile and ill students.” The Illinois Attorney General agreed not to prosecute anyone involved, and the judge issued a temporary order permitting A.S. to use medical marijuana at school pending the hearing in the case. See Groundbreaking Medical Marijuana Case Lets Little Girl Go Back to School, January 22, 2018.
New York’s Compassionate Care Act, enacted in 2014, permits medical marijuana for certain specified conditions. However, even for certified patients, it remains unlawful to vaporize or otherwise consume medical marijuana in a public place. Under the law, schools are included in the definition of a public place. As such, students in New York may not use medical marijuana in school.
For the time being, that will remain the case. But A.S.’s situation was reported nationally. It may not be long before similar lawsuits are filed in other jurisdictions. So stay tuned …