School Staff May Administer Medical Cannabis Infused Products to Eligible Students, Beginning in 2020

On August 12, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed legislation that provides students with further access to medical cannabis infused products while on school grounds or on school buses.

As previously reported in 2018, Ashley’s Law or Public Act 100-0660, provided students with access to medical cannabis infused products on school grounds, so long as the products were administered by an authorized caregiver/parent. Students who held a Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Identification Card could receive products from a registered caregiver under state law while on school property and during the school day. District administrators and nurses were not allowed to administer. Districts have reported that students have been receiving medical cannabis for treatment of seizures, nausea and other significant medical conditions that were not alleviated by conventional medicine.

Public Act 101-0370 will go into effect on January 1, 2020. This new legislation applies to administrators and school nurses in districts, public schools, charter schools and non-public schools.  School administrators and school nurses may administer medical cannabis infused products to eligible students while on school property during the school day, during school-sponsored activities and before normal school activities (which may include riding a school bus or attending district child care). The Act also authorizes eligible students to self-administer medical cannabis infused products, so long as the administration takes place under the supervision of a school administrator or school nurse.

Prior to the administration of medical cannabis infused products, the parent of the eligible student must provide written authorization for use of the product, a copy of the registry identification card, as well as specific instruction for the administration of the medical cannabis infused product. Districts must maintain a copy of the authorization and the registration card. For students who will self-administer, a written authorization must be completed by the parent or guardian on an annual basis and be maintained by the district. Nurses must ensure that any medical cannabis infused products are maintained securely, in the same method as other prescription medications are maintained within their buildings.

District administrators and school nurses will be required to complete training on the use and administration of medical cannabis infused products. Training must be completed annually and evidence of training completion must be maintained by the district. The State Board of Education will be responsible for designing the training program.

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