SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate's overwhelming vote to allow sick students to take medical marijuana in school sends the proposal to Gov. Bruce Rauner for a decision on its fate.
The state Senate voted 50-2 to allow students who qualify for medical marijuana to consume it on school premises, as long as they don't smoke it and school officials agree that it won't disrupt other students.
The measure is named Ashley's Law, for 12-year-old Ashley Surin of Schaumburg, who takes medical marijuana to treat the epilepsy she developed during chemotherapy treatments for leukemia.
But her parents say the measure will benefit many more children like Ashley, who use medical marijuana to treat serious illnesses.
The family was in the Senate chambers for the vote Thursday, visiting with sponsoring state Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin, and was ecstatic over the result.
"We're going in the right direction," Ashley's mother, Maureen Surin, said. Now the family is hoping they can join Rauner if he signs the bill into law. The governor's office could not be immediately reached to say what he will do with the bill.
The law would allow parents, guardians or caregivers to administer drops or oils at school. School personnel would not be required to do so.
Ashley wears a patch and uses lotion containing cannabidiol, or CBD oil, with a small amount of THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis, last December. It does not get her high, but has eliminated her seizures, her parents said.
"We feel like we're watching a miracle happen," Maureen Surin said. "She thinks better, she talks better. She used to do one- and two-word sentences. Now she speaks in run-on sentences. Her life has been given back to her."
Illinois law allows children under 18 to take medical marijuana if two doctors certify that they have a medical condition that qualifies. But the new proposal would change current law, which prohibits possessing marijuana on school grounds.