California judge rules 5-year-old can bring cannabis-based drug to kindergarten for epilepsy
The Rincon Valley Union School District had refused to let 5-yr-old Brooke Adams use THC oil at school to help with her seizures, saying it would violate state and federal laws.
In a landmark judgment, a California judge has ruled that a 5-year-old girl with a rare form of epilepsy can take cannabis-based medication to her Santa Rosa public school.
The Rincon Valley Union School District had refused to let kindergartener Brooke Adams use THC oil at Village Elementary to help with her seizures, saying it would violate state and federal anti-drug laws. While medical marijuana use in private with a doctor's recommendation is legal in California, state and federal laws still bar the use of medical marijuana on school grounds.
But Judge Charles Marson, an administrative law judge for the state, overruled that decision and sided with the family of 5-year-old Brooke, The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports.
"I was so overwhelmed with emotion and joy that we don't have to fight anymore after a battle of over two years," said the girl's mother, Jana Adams. "She can just go to school like any other child and we don't have to keep pushing to get what she needs."
Under a prior temporary order from the judge, the 5-year-old had been attending kindergarten accompanied by a nurse at Village Elementary since August.
According to her mother, Brooke has had at least three seizures on school grounds; the cannabis treatment prevented prolonged convulsions.
"She has them at different times of the day, and you don't know when it comes," Adams, explained. "To be able to see the marijuana working and not have to call 911 because it stops the seizure is amazing."
Joe Rogoway, the attorney representing the Adams family, argued that Brooke’s Dravet Syndrome clearly qualified her to attend school under federal law. He also said the school district misapplied state statutes that prohibit medical marijuana on campus in its rationale for denying her access to Brooke's diagnosed need for the drug.
District officials said they were reviewing the decision and haven't decided whether to appeal. Assistant Superintendent Cathy Myhers said the district is relieved to have legal guidance on the issue.
"We are pleased with the decision and guidance," Myhers said. "We are happy to have a decision that supports our ability to educate and serve this student in our public schools."