11-Year-Old Girl Allowed to Use Medical Marijuana at School


An 11-year-old Chicago girl suffering from occasional seizures, is now allowed to use medicinal marijuana at school, based on a federal court ruling this Friday.

Ashley Surin is a 6th grader at Hanover Highlands Elementary School, and was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2008. To fight her leukemia, she underwent chemotherapy which caused her to have regular seizures. The recent Illinois ruling, allows her to use medical cannabis at school as treatment for her seizures. Ashley wears a patch on her foot and uses oils on her wrists, and her parents report her seizures have greatly decreased in number. The path to earn that right, came with a fight.

Ashley’s parents, Jim and Maureen Surin, filed a lawsuit against the Schaumburg school district and the state of Illinois, demanding for her to be able to take medical marijuana at school to treat her seizures. The parents claim the state’s ban on medical marijuana use in school is in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Following the hearing on Friday, the sixth grader was granted permission to take her medication while at school, lawyers for both parties will meet next week to draft a long-term plan for Ashley, according to NBC Chicago.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the judge said, “no one’s saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class.”  

Ashley became the first person in Illinois allowed to use medical marijuana in schools, paving the way for other parents to seek legal aid in similar cases. While it is still illegal to bring medical marijuana on school grounds in Illinois, only 3 states, New Jersey, Maine and Colorado, have legalized medical marijuana for use in school.

Ashley Surin had to be absent from school for the past 2 weeks, but is now able to return, thanks to Friday’s ruling.

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