A 15-year-old student named Jack Splitt had been fighting for the right to medicate on campus for over a year, in the state of Colorado. Splitt, who had cerebral palsy, started school at Wheat Ridge High School almost two weeks ago and enjoyed being with his friends, especially after fighting so hard for his presence there. His ability to attend school was helped by “Jack’s Law,” a state law that Splitt and his mother lobbied hard to get passed.
Splitt and his family started fighting for the law in February 2015 after a school employee ripped a skin patch containing his medication, derived from cannabis, violently off of his arm, The Denver Post reports. At the time, none of the state public schools allowed for cannabis medication to be used on campus or during school hours. This posed a serious issue for many patients who needed and wanted to attend regular school, but also needed to medicate during the school day.
“Jack’s Law,” signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper just this June, allows parents and caregivers to administer medical cannabis treatment on school campuses. The law allows school officials to decide where on campus the treatment can be delivered, as well as what forms of the drug can be administered. However, if a district does not create a policy, there are no restrictions on where the treatment can be delivered.
Splitt died Wednesday, August 24 at his home in Lakewood, Colorado. He was 15 years old.
Splitt’s mother, Stacey Linn, told The Denver Post that the teen appeared to his younger brother in a dream, hours before his death. “He was standing tall and in a powerful voice told Cooper, ‘Please do not be sad. I am free,” Linn told the paper. Splitt died later that day. “He fought hard for children everywhere, there is no doubt,” Linn said, “but we’ll also remember his smile.”
“Jack had a tough life, but he was a trouper and a very, brave young man,” she said. “When he smiled at you, it changed your life. I’ve had people tell me that when Jack smiled at them a year ago, they can still remember his smile.”
Teri Robnett, Founder of Cannabis Patients Alliance, doubts “Jack’s Law” would be on the books today if not for the boy, as she told The Denver Post. “Oftentimes we know that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, but when you have a sympathetic face that can really bring focus to the issue, you can really do amazing things,” Robnett said. “And that’s what Jack did.”