An autistic teenage girl from New Jersey who also suffers from potentially life threatening epileptic seizures will be allowed to consume medical marijuana while at school. After Gov. Chris Christie this week signed a law that allows this, the Larc School adopted their policy in order to accommodate medical marijuana patients who are also their students. The new law has made it possible for this 16-year-old to receive her dosage of cannabis oil from a nurse at the Larc School, a special education school in Bellmawr in southern New Jersey. According to the school’s executive director Susan Weiner, it appears to be the first school in the nation to permit medical marijuana on campus.
Fast reaction from the school
After Gov. Christie signed the law last week, the school officials say they didn’t want to waste any more time and acted quickly to comply with the law and adjusted their policy to accommodate their students who needed their medicine. The school now allows children with developmental disabilities to consume cannabis oil or other edible form of cannabis at the school’s premises. “Clearly this has been in discussion for a quite a while and we are happy to accommodate and certainly want to help our families,” Weiner said Thursday. “We were hoping (Christie) would sign this and we have been preparing for this to happen.”
Why did parents sue the school?
The school’s favorable and quick reaction follows in the aftermath of the lawsuit that came from the same girl’s parents. Actually, this girl was the inspiration for the law and the policy. Her name is Genny Barbour, she is a 16-year-old girl from Maple Shade and a student at Larc school. Her family unsuccessfully sued the school a year ago after they refused to allow their daughter to take her lunchtime dose of cannabis oil. Her mother makes the oil herself because it has proven to be far more efficient in controlling Genny’s seizures than any traditional pharmaceutical remedies. Larc school refused to allow the consumption of cannabis oil on their ground out of concerns they would be violating the state drug-free school zone law and the federal law that says marijuana possession is a crime.
The battle continues
Genny’s mother will most likely begin taking the cannabis oil to her daughter’s school on Monday. Since April, Genny has attended half-day sessions so she could receive her lunchtime dose on time – this is one of four doses she takes during the day that have controlled the frequency and intensity of her seizures. Her family doesn’t want to stop their battle here. The law allows the school nurse to provide the cannabis oil, but the Barbour family wants the nurse to administer the oil just like any other medicine. The school’s director, Ms. Weiner, said she is happy the school now has the legal protection to help Genny and other students like her. Kudos for this school and its people! Because, Colorado was the first state in May to enact a law permitting medical marijuana in school, but no school has adopted a policy.