A federal judge says it’s ok for an 11-year-old girl who suffered from leukemia to use medicinal marijuana at her suburban elementary school.
The ruling comes after the girl's parents sued Schaumburg School District 54 for the right to take medical marijuana at school.
The girl’s parents said the state's ban on taking the drug at school was unconstitutional violation of both “due process” and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Today a judge agreed.
11-year-old Ashley Surin was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2008. Her parents say there were side-effects to the chemotherapy and other medical treatments that brought on seizures.
The family struggled, but finally found the right combination of diet and medicine to treat the seizures.
Ashley has been using a medical marijuana foot patch and rubbing oil with positive results.
“She can think better, walk better, talk better her brain used to be like in a cloud,” her mother Maureen Surin said. “And now she can think clearer and she’s more alert. She can interact, and can go back to school and learn and not be in a cloud.”
The family asked the school district to store the medical marijuana on school grounds at Hanover Highlands Elementary in case it was necessary during the school day.
But the district denied the fifth grader’s request because state law prohibits even medical marijuana on school grounds or school busses.
“All we wanted was for her to be back in school with her friends on her diet, on her medicine and just go on with her 11-year-old life, and that’s why we’re here,” Surin says.
today a federal judge ruled that Ashley may indeed use the medical marijuana at school.
The Illinois Attorney General agreed not to prosecute and the school district said its goal was to have Ashley back in the classroom with no legal consequences for staff who administer the medicine.
“Both state and Federal law prohibit the possession or use of cannabis in any form on school grounds or on school busses – and it’s not reasonable to think – with the advances in medication that we can’t serve children with medications as they develop over time,” said Darcy Kriha, an attorney for the school district.
This is belived to be the first case of its kind and could set a precedent for schools across the nation.
“This (will) not just help her, I hope but it’s going to help other kids down the road who need to take cannabis at school for another disease that they need to reverse or treat. It’s not a drug. It’s a medicine,” Surin said.
Ashley has been out of school for about two weeks as this legal drama unfolded. Her father said she misses her friends – and is excited to go back to school on Tuesday
Meantime, the family says it’s time for the legislature to update and revise the medical marijuana law.