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Bill allowing medical cannabis in Illinois public schools goes to governor

CBD oil image

The clock is ticking for Gov. Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would allow parents and guardians to give students cannabis-infused medicine at school.

House Bill 4870 would let parents or guardians administer cannabis infused products to their children who have qualifying conditions, unless the school determines it would be disruptive. The bill was sent to the governor Friday.

Before voting “no” last month, state Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria, said he supported getting cannabidiol, or CBD, oil to students who need it. That’s the substance derived from the cannabis stalk that has virtually none of the THC compound that gets people high.

“I just wish we had a cleaner bill that was somehow making sure we’re not now allowing THC in a school environment when we’re still uncertain what abuses are going to happen in our state,” Weaver said.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said the state shouldn’t get in the way of students who get needed relief from any cannabis products.

“When a patient needs medicine, they need medicine,” Cassidy said. “Students need the tools and supports they need in order to learn and students that need medication to be able to actually physically be at school and not suffer multiple seizures all day long, we should be facilitating that.”

“We should not get between patients and their medicine,” Cassidy said. “It’s just that simple.”

Before voting “yes” on the measure, state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, said there are fewer restrictions on opioid painkillers than there are for medical marijuana.

“We have a huge opioid epidemic in our state but yet we try to solve these problems with an alternative source that works that is a plant but yet we provide less oversight in statute for prescribing opioids,” Anderson said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health requires parents and guardians who want to get their child a medical cannabis registry card obtain certification from two physicians. There are additional requirements posted on IDPH’s website.

The qualifying debilitating conditions range from cancer to seizures and more.

Rauner’s office did not return a message seeking comment.

In the past, the Rauner administration has fought expanding cannabis use under the state’s medical cannabis pilot program only to be rebuffed by the courts.

HB4870 passed both chambers with more than enough votes to override a potential veto.