16-year-old Genny Barbour began consuming cannabis oil 13 months ago for treatment of epilepsy. Since then, her seizures occur roughly once every five days. However, a September 15th ruling in the New Jersey state courts has declared that state and federal drug laws supersede Genny’s right to use medical marijuana on school grounds.
Genny, a special education student who also has a diagnosis of autism, has only been able to attend half days of school due to the fact that she has to be removed from school grounds each day to receive her seizure controlling medicine. Here, Genny’s mother Lora must pick her daughter up and take her home to administer the lunchtime dose of oil, which is diluted in a small glass of cola.
The family has argued that Genny’s case is no different than the other students who receive medications dispensed by the school nurse on staff.
In the ruling against the family, Administrative Law Judge John S. Kennedy wrote, “There are no doctor’s reports from the treating physician that would establish that her lunchtime dose of marijuana is medically necessary.”
This was the third ruling against the family regarding the administration of the cannabis oil on school grounds. Previous rulings cited that permitting the school nurse to administer the oil would violate federal laws that still consider cannabis criminal, and state laws that ban drug use in school zones. While Kennedy agreed that Genny’s mother should be allowed to administer the oil, the most current decision prohibits her from visiting the school during Genny’s lunch period to administer the seizure controlling medicine herself.
The attorney for Larc School, where Genny is a student and has undeniably received a break in her special education services due to the aforementioned rulings, has reiterated Kennedy’s points, saying
. . .please be advised that no medical marijuana will be administered on the Larc School grounds by any individual. . . – Attorney at Larc School
It is believed that this is the first case in the nation to challenge existing laws in the name of allowing children access to medical marijuana while at school.
The Barbours have tried a multitude of pharmaceuticals and brain surgery in attempt to treat Genny’s epilepsy, all of which were unsuccessful.
New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill earlier this summer that would require rules be established by school districts to allow students with developmental disabilities to consume edible forms of cannabis at school. The bill is currently awaiting action by Governor Chris Christie.