Rylie Maedler was at a loss for words during a Sept. 7 bill signing making it easier for her to receive medical marijuana oils during the school year.
A heart felt, “Thank you,” and a big grin was all Maedler could muster. It was all anyone needed.
Rylie uses medical marijuana oils daily. Last year, the Rehoboth Elementary student had to be to checked out of school by one of her parents every day. The process was tedious – mom Janie or dad Sean would check Rylie out, walk her off school grounds, give her the medicine and then check her back into school. The passage of Senate Bill 181 means parents will still have to show up at school daily, but the visits will be more akin to passing notes in the hallway in between classes.
Passed in June, the legislation allows designated caregivers to possess and administer medical marijuana oil to a qualifying child on school buses and on the grounds of a school in which a patient is enrolled.
Joining Rylie for the signing at Rehoboth Elementary School were Gov. Jack Markell, Sen. Ernie Lopez, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, family, friends and Rehoboth Elementary School employees.
Lopez was the bill’s primary sponsor. In a follow-up email Sept. 8, he said originally the law was meant to break down a barrier prohibiting children from using medicine research shows can to provide relief.
SB 181 broke down another barrier in that access, Lopez said. Needed medicine is now available at a location where children spend the majority of their day – at school, he said.
The legislation is an expansion of Senate Bill 90, passed in June 2015, which allowed children to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program through the use of marijuana-based oils. Lopez was the primary sponsor on this bill too. Neither bill received a dissenting vote through the legislative process.
Rylie’s parents were both in attendance. Janie thanked the legislators for their dedication.
“Without you this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.
Other legislation signed into law
On Sept. 6, Markell signed another five pieces of legislation into law – House Bills 211 and 405, and Senate Bills 198, 245 and 281.
The two House bills and Senate Bill 198 deal with juvenile justice reform.
Under HB 211, children will not be shackled or restrained in Family Court, except when the court determines restraints are necessary.
Currently, many juvenile defendants are subject to mandatory shackling, even in cases involving minor offenses such as shoplifting.
HB 405 expands a law that enforcement officers to issue civil citations to juveniles for first-time offenses such as underage drinking, loitering and disorderly conduct.
SB 198 streamlines procedures to allow some juveniles to have their criminal records expunged.
The two remaining bills, SB 245 and SB 281, deal with mental health and suicide prevention.
Senate Bill 245 establishes a Behavioral and Mental Health Commission, tasked with overseeing and monitoring the state’s mental health system.
Senate Bill 281 codifies Delaware’s Suicide Prevention Coalition. Since 2004, stakeholders have worked within the confines of the coalition to raise awareness regarding suicide in Delaware and provide education about warning signs.