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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

New State Law Permits Limited Medical Cannabis Use During Park Programs

Public Act 102–0067, signed into law on July 9, 2021, adds a new Section 31 to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act regarding the administration of medical cannabis to individuals with disabilities who participate in camps, educational programs, or similar programs sponsored by Illinois park districts. The new law does not relax any of the current restrictions and rules regarding the use of recreational cannabis.

The Act restricts the authority of park districts and covered entities to regulate the use and possession of medical cannabis by people with disabilities during the course of park district programming, as follows:

  • A park district must allow a program participant’s parent, guardian, or caregiver to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a participant with a disability on the park premises if both the participant and caregiver are authorized cardholders.
  • A park district may not discipline or restrict a program participant because he or she requires a medical cannabis infused product or because the product has been administered to the participant in accordance with the new law.

The Act also contains some protections for park districts which are intended to limit other participant’s exposure and access to cannabis products. Caregivers and participants covered by the law must comply with the following conditions:

  • The caregiver must remove the medical cannabis infused product from the park district after the product has been administered to the program participant.
  • A caregiver cannot administer a product that might create a disruption to the program or activity for people with disabilities or expose other participants to the product
  • The Act does not require a member of the park district's staff to administer any medical cannabis infused product to a program participant.

One important caveat in the new law that park districts should be aware of - a park district may not authorize the administration of these products to program participants if the park district would lose federal funding as a result. So, park districts may want to check to see if there were any relevant conditions placed on federal grant funding they may have received. 

Park districts should review their existing policies to ensure they do not enforce any rules which directly conflict with the new law. Staff training is also recommended so that eligible participants can exercise their rights safely and privately without causing unnecessary disruptions to park programs.

Post Authored by Erin Monforti and Adam Simon, Ancel Glink


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