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Judge Allows Kindergartner To Take Cannabis Medication To School

 By Roger Malespin

October 16th 2018 photo/istock/LightFieldStudios

 Within the cannabis community, some of the most vulnerable people are those with disabilities. These people have to fight an uphill battle every day just to live a semblance of a normal life, and medical marijuana can be just as hard for them to obtain. Earlier this week, a judge in Santa Rosa county ruled in favor of 5-year old Brooke Adams, whose family was fighting for the right for her to take cannabis-based medicine for seizures.

The Rincon Valley School District in Santa Rosa had sought to ban the medicine because they said it violated state and federal law. Despite knowing the fact that the medicine contains only a trace amount of THC, far from enough to induce a high, the school district still tried to prevent Brooke from taking it at school.

 Judge Charles Marson, who serves the state Administrative Hearings' Special Education Division, ruled in favor of Adams. She can take the medicine on school grounds as long as a nurse is with her to apply it.

“I was so overwhelmed with emotion and joy that we don’t have to fight anymore after a battle of over two years,” said Jana Adams. “I’m grateful that we had this ruling so she can just go to school like any other child and we don’t have to keep pushing to get what she needs.”

 Brooke’s condition, Dravet Syndrome,  is quite serious. Her mother said she has suffered 3 seizures in school, but the cannabis medication prolonged convulsions and allowed much more time to alert emergency medical help when needed. This is indeed a life saving medication for Brooke. 

 This story mirrors that of Ashley Surin in Illinois. Ashley is a 12 year old girl whose parents had to fight her school district earlier this year to allow her the same medication. In that case, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed “Ashley’s Law” into effect, which allows children who suffer from severe seizures to take cannabis based medicine on school grounds. California allows medical marijuana in private residence, but so far there is nothing like Ashley’s Law in that state, something Brooke’s parents and their lawyer, Joe Rogoway, hope to change.

 “It’s always an uphill battle to convince the government to allow for medical marijuana use in sensitive areas,” said Rogoway. “The ruling is profound and the judge found it so incredibly important for children like Brooke. Hopefully it provides opportunities for not just her, but other families in the same situation who desperately want to be able to go to school and socialize with children in their peer group.”

 Despite the clear benefit the medicine provides Brooke and other children like her, the school district is still reviewing the appeals process. The district superintendent released a statement saying they are happy with the ruling, but still have time to appeal.

This is an important development in the fight for legalization. Even though great progress has been made over the last few years, especially in the area of medical marijuana, there are still barriers to overcome. There are too many people who are uneducated and uninformed about medical cannabis, and some of them are in positions of power like those in charge of this school district. Thankfully, there are sensible judges and lawmakers who are on the right side.

Voting for lawmakers who are pro legalization is without question the greatest weapon the average citizen has in this fight. Midterm elections are less than two months away, so now is the time to do some research on the races in your area and see which candidates stand on the right side of the issue.