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New plan could allow some Illinois students to use medical pot

Photo courtesy Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois  (Illinois News Network) –Some school kids in Illinois could soon get to use medical marijuana in school.

The latest expansion to Illinois’ medical marijuana program could see kids with epilepsy, cancer or other conditions use their medicine in school.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the way that Illinois’ laws are written now, students can’t use medical pot in school, yet they have to go to school and no one wants them to be sick

Lang told a statehouse panel Wednesday that it makes sense to allow a parent, or maybe a caregiver, to come to school and give their child a drop of cannabidiol oil. Cannabidiol is one of the active ingredients in marijuana, but does not produce a high.

“For some kids, it’s oil under the tongue. For some kids, it’s cancer. For some kids, it’s epilepsy. For some kids, it’s other things,” Lang said. “We are not going to have a run of wild parents coming into schools administering cannabis to a child at a school.”

Jim Surin is the kind of parent who would use the new law.

Surin’s daughter, Ashley, was also at the Capitol Wednesday to highlight the impact of the proposed law.

Surin said Ashely was diagnosed with cancer at age two, came down with epilepsy shortly after, and spent years struggling with treatments until they started treating her with medical marijuana.

“She had suffered one to three seizures a day, on a regular basis for almost eight years plus,” Surin told lawmakers. “Thanks to the Keto-diet and the medical marijuana, a patch on her foot or a drop of oil on her wrist, she’s been seizure free.”

There were some skeptics. State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said she fears a law that starts with CBD oil for students could become a plan to allow more kids to use edibles or other marijuana products for other conditions.

“We’ve done this in the past. We started a four-year pilot program dealing with medical marijuana, and made changes every single year,” Ives said. “So the concern, quite frankly, is that before we know it’s an edible not an oil. It’s all sorts of other conditions, not just epilepsy. It’s being administered by a school nurse or other personnel, not just a parent or a caregiver.”

Ives did vote for the expansion, it’s headed to the full house for a vote.

Lang said Illinois needs to expand its medical marijuana program, because lawmakers originally wrote such narrow rules for who and how they can use their medicine.