North Bay family challenging medicinal cannabis ban at 5-year-old's school

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- A North Bay family is challenging a school district's recommendation that's keeping their daughter with a rare disease from attending school.

It's not the disease that's keeping her out but the medication she uses - medicinal cannabis.

Cannabis oil has helped treat 5-year-old Brooke Adams' life-threatening condition known as Dravet Syndrome -- a rare type of epilepsy that begins at infancy.

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A family video showing Brooke having a seizure while on a recent vacation highlights the scary medical challenges of the disease. Brooke's mom can be seen administering medicinal cannabis oil into her mouth. The trembling stops minutes later.

"THC oil comes from marijuana plant has been able to stop her prolonged seizures in minutes, instead of having to take her to ER," said Jana Adams, Brooke's mom.

Jana started giving Brooke cannabis-based medication after other prescribed drugs were having negative side effects. But the cannabis use is keeping Brooke at home - not able to attend public schools.

"Why does any parent send their kids to school," asked Jana. "I want the same thing for my daughter to be able experience making friends."

The Rincon Valley Union School District is adhering to state and federal law - which bans illegal drugs, like marijuana, from campus. So they propose home schooling instead.

Jana is fighting the district's policy enforcement of not allowing cannabis on campus, even for medical use. Judge Charles Marson held a hearing Wednesday at Madrone Elementary School in Santa Rosa to hear both sides.

"We want to educate every child in our community. This is a lovely little girl. We have two different laws and we're stuck in the middle," said Cathy Myhers, assistant superintendent at Rincon Valley Union School District.

The judge has up to 45 days to rule. That ruling will be specific to Brooke's case but could have larger implications.

"I hope it will benefit other kids as well who are on cannabis," said Jana. "There needs to be bill or an amendment to the bill to allow all kids to access their medical marijuana that's legal in California."

The district says they're fully committed in implementing any decision that the judge rules - a decision that will impact Brooke's life.

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