By: Brittany Flaherty Theis

Beginning August 1, 2018, schools in Illinois are required by law to allow designated caregivers to administer medical cannabis infused products to students on school premises under certain circumstances within the confines of the applicable laws. Medical cannabis infused products are defined to include food, oils, ointments, or other products containing usable cannabis that are not smoked.

Public Act 100-660 was signed into law on August 1 and became effective immediately. It created Section 22-33 of the School Code, now known as “Ashley’s Law.” This section requires school districts, public schools, charter schools, and nonpublic schools to authorize a parent, guardian, or other “designated caregiver” registered with the Department of Public Health to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a student on the premises of the child’s school or on the child’s school bus. The child must be a registered qualifying patient. The child and parent, guardian or designated caregiver must both have registry identification cards under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. (Throughout the remainder of this post, “parent” will be used to refer to parents, guardians, or other designated caregivers registered with the Department of Public Health under these laws.)

Notably, Ashley’s Law contains numerous other limiting parameters. First, after administering the product, the parent must remove the product from the school premises or the school bus. Second, a parent cannot administer the product in a manner that the school determines would create a disruption to the school’s educational environment or would cause exposure of the product to other students. Third, the law does not require any staff member of a school to administer the medical cannabis infused product to a student. Fourth, Ashley’s Law does not allow a student to smoke cannabis on school premises or on a school bus. Cannabis products that are smoked are specifically excluded from the definition of medical cannabis infused products. Fifth, administration of a medical cannabis infused product cannot be authorized under this law if the school district or school would lose federal funding as a result of the authorization.

Additionally, administration of such products that is in compliance with Ashley’s Law cannot be used as a basis for student discipline or denial of eligibility to attend school solely because the student requires the administration of a medical cannabis infused product. Ashley’s Law requires school districts, public schools, charter schools, and nonpublic schools to adopt a policy to implement these new requirements.

The attorneys at Whitt Law are well-versed in special education, student discipline, and school board governance and policy matters. If you have questions regarding Ashley’s Law, please contact Whitt Law Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis.

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