Yesterday, Governor Rauner signed into law a bill that will permit limited use of marijuana-infused products at Illinois public schools for medicinal purposes. The law, known as “Ashley’s Law,” will permit caregivers of students who are registered patients under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program to administer cannabis-infused products on school grounds.

The law contains safeguards to protect other students and staff to exposure, including:

  • The product must be administered by a caregiver (not by the student);
  • The product must be removed from campus after administration;
  • Staff cannot be required to administer the product;
  • Products that have the potential to expose other students to the product (e.g., to smoke) are not permitted;
  • Schools have the discretion to prohibit use where it would cause a disruption to the school’ “educational environment.”

The law leaves unchanged the rights of colleges and universities to limit or prohibit use of medical marijuana on their campuses, which most do in order to comply with federal law.

There also is an express carve-out that permits any school to prohibit the use of medical marijuana if it would jeopardize federal funding. Given that marijuana is still listed as an illegal controlled substance under federal law, any school dependent on federal grants or other funding will need to carefully weigh the risk of allowing compassionate use of medical marijuana on their campuses.

Written by Therese King Nohos

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