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Medical Marijuana Now Allowed on School Grounds in Delaware

The governor of Delaware signed into a law a bill that allows minors who are qualified patients of the state’s medical marijuana program to use their medicine while on campus.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell recently signed legislation that allows qualified medical marijuana patients to use medicinal cannabis while on school grounds. Senate Bill 181, sponsored by State Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes), allows caregivers, including parents or legal guardians, to legally administer permitted doses of medicinal cannabis to students within the state’s medical marijuana program.

“It feels terrific,” Lopez said in June after the bill passed the Delaware General Assembly. “This bill came about as a result of a lot of hard work. It’s a good bi-partisan legislation that’s going to help kids and families in Delaware.”

The new law, which was supported by the Delaware Department of Education, means that qualified students can be given their medicinal cannabis while “in a school bus and on the grounds or property of the preschool, or primary or secondary school in which a minor qualifying patient is enrolled.”

The new legislation is also called “Rylie’s Law,” which refers to Rylie Maedler, a now 10-year old with aggressive giant cell granuloma that causes seizures. Cannabis oil was effective at managing her seizures, but she was legally unable to take her medicine at school. She’d have to leave school grounds, often in the harsh weather of Delaware.

U.S. Marijuana Laws

“This new law will not only be a relief for Rylie, but other more medically fragile children who should never be in harsh weather, who are more difficult to transport off school grounds,” said Janie Maedler, Rylie’s mother. “It means there will be less disruption to her school day, so she can stay on task, and she will not have to leave the school property in the weather every single day to take her medicine. She will no longer feel singled out due to having to leave every single day and then come back because of her type of medicine.”

SB 181 does not allow school administrators or nurses to administer the medical cannabis. That right is limited to a student’s’ official caregivers.

Delaware joins Colorado and New Jersey as the only medical marijuana states with laws that explicitly allow qualified patients to consume cannabis on school grounds, the National Reform of Marijuana Laws reports. New Jersey was the first to adopt a law, which allows caretakers and guardians to administer medical marijuana to students. In 2015, Gov. Chris Christie signed the legislation after a 16-year old student suffering from autism and potentially life-threatening epilepsy sued her school for banning the cannabis oil her parents were packing with her lunch to help control her seizures.

It was just a few months ago that Colorado passed legislation that prevented schools from punishing students approved for medical marijuana for having cannabis on campus, or preventing its use while on grounds. The law was implemented after Colorado teenager Jack Splitt, who suffered from cerebral palsy and has since passed away, championed for the right to use medical marijuana in schools.

Along with SB 181, Gov. Markell also signed House Bill 400, which expands the state’s medical marijuana program to include terminal illnesses or the symptoms related to such illnesses. Both new laws took effect immediately.

Delaware legalized medical marijuana in 2011 and sales began in July 2012. With the authorization of a licensed physician, qualified patients can legally possess up to 6 ounces of medical marijuana for the treatment of cancermultiple sclerosisHIV and AIDS, decompensated cirrhosisamyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)Alzheimer’s diseaseautismintractable epilepsypost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and now terminal illness. Additionally, conditions that cause painwasting syndromenausea or seizures fall under the state’s law.

Learn more about Delaware’s cannabis laws on our education page.