Administrative Law Judge John S. Kennedy ruled that allowing a school nurse to give Genny Barbour her medical weed would break a state law barring drugs in school zones. Kennedy said all New Jersey campuses, from pre-schools to universities, “are mandated to comply with the Drug Free School Zones Act.”
Genny, 16, suffers from a severe seizure disorder. Like many other young patients with epilepsy, she has found relief in only one place: an oil made by stripping marijuana plants of a chemical known as CBD.
CBD effective suppressor of epileptic seizures
This substance is thought to quiet over-activity in the brain, thus suppressing seizures. A large and growing number of cases across the country suggest CBD oil can dramatically reduce the number of convulsions experienced by almost every epileptic child who takes it.
Medical cannabis is legal in New Jersey, and that includes CBD. The state has a highly restricted program that allows certain children to consume that chemical, which doesn’t get users high.
Genny was already taking three treatments of CBD oil each day. The oil is dissolved in a small glass of cola, her parents say, and she drinks it before and after school. The drug has greatly reduced her seizures, except during the middle of the afternoon.
Genny deserves access to medication
That’s when she’s in class, and there’s no way for her to take her medicine anywhere else. So her parents, Roger and Lora Barbour, said a nurse should be required to administer that medicine, just as school officials do for other children every day.
Kennedy’s decision, announced in August, was a big setback, but the Barbours said they plan to appeal, making their case the first attempt to guarantee medical marijuana rights on campus.
The ruling did leave a window open for the Barbours: Kennedy said they should be allowed to visit the school and administer the CBD oil themselves. Other officials in New Jersey could try to prevent that from happening, but Kennedy said the Barbours would have a legal defense if they were arrested for giving Genny CBD at school.
Registered caregiver rights
Lora Barbour is Genny’s legally registered caregiver, and Kennedy wrote in his decision that she “has the ability to assert an affirmative defense against charges of possession or distribution of medical marijuana to G.B. even on school grounds.”
Officials with the school district declined to comment after Kennedy announced his ruling, but the Barbours’ attorney, relative Roger Barbour, said the parents plan to show up at school with medical weed.
“We are going to try to go to school to give Genny her medicine,” Roger Barbour said. “If they say no, Lora will come bearing the judge’s decision and will insist on it.”
Colorado is the only state that currently allows MMJ at its schools. Lawmakers passed a bill there recently that lets students use non-intoxicating CBD at school under medical supervision. Officials in New Jersey have been hostile to the idea.