The Law Q&A | Clearing air on medicinal-marijuana use in primary schools

The Law Q&A | Clearing air on medicinal-marijuana use in primary schools

OK, kids, let's clear the smoke on medicinal-marijuana use in primary schools.

Marijuana use for medical purposes became authorized under Illinois law in 2014. In the originating statute, over 40 debilitating medical conditions were qualified for treatment by cannabis. The Illinois Department of Public Health can add to that list under its rule-making authority.

Cannabis can be possessed and used so long as it is done with a prescription made by a qualified medical provider to a qualifying patient for a medical condition authorized under the law. Its use can be only in places allowed under the law. Primary schools were not among those authorized places. Until now.

Public or private universities and colleges in Illinois may still prohibit medicinal-marijuana use on their premises if they want.

But a few weeks ago, the Illinois Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill allowing medical marijuana to be administered to school kids on school property or buses. The law was effective Aug 1. It covers public, private and chartered schools.

The new law allows a parent or a child's guardian to administer the prescribed cannabis to the child at their child's school or on the school bus the child rides to or from school. The parent must be authorized under the law to give cannabis to the child in the amount and under methods of the medical provider's prescription. The child must be an authorized patient under the medicinal-marijuana law to receive such cannabis for the authorized medical condition.

The parent and the child become an authorized provider/user under the procedures of the paper-pushing bureaucracy of the Illinois Department of Public Health, which is authorized to administer the law of medicinal cannabis.

So, what happens if the distribution by Mom to Junior carries the wonderfully hideous smell of weed? What if the other kiddies are entranced by or repelled by such wafting odiferous emanations of the burnie, or even by just the thought of partaking a taste of the Mary Jane munchies brought on board the bus for Mary Jane?

A school may prohibit such administering if in the opinion of the school such administering is disruptive to the school environment or causes exposure of the product to other students.

So, put those pot brownies away.

Such prohibition by a school can only be done under a policy the school previously came up with. If they haven't devised a comprehensive policy, they might not be able to prohibit the parental administration willy-nilly.

A school can't discipline a student for using the product. It also can't deny eligibility to attend the school solely because the student medically requires the product. But school staff cannot be made to administer the gang in question.

If a school would lose federal funding because of this authorizing Illinois law, the law then permits the school to prohibit such administering on school premises or buses. Remember, while many states are authorizing marijuana possession and use in some form or another, federal law absolutely prohibits it.

For the moment.

Groovy, man. Like, pass the broccoli, dude.

Brett Kepley is a lawyer with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. You can send your questions to The Law Q&A, 302 N. First St., Champaign, IL 61820. Questions may be edited for space.