Autistic NJ Teen with Epilepsy Wins Right to Take Medical Marijuana
A New Jersey teen with autism and epilepsy has won the right to receive her medical marijuana oil treatments in school. But challenges remain as parents will need to enter the school to administer treatment.
A medical marijuana victory has been won in New Jersey. Genny Barbour, an autistic teen with epilepsy, has won the fight to use medical marijuana oil at school as part of her treatment plan. Genny will now be able to return to school full-time.
The story is the latest in recent marijuana news that highlights the challenges medical marijuana patients face during treatment. Young patients in particular face great challenges because it can be difficult to get schools to allow permission for children to receive treatment during school hours.
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Lora Barbour, Genny’s mother, was initially discouraged and assumed it would take a lengthy court battle to win her daughter’s case.
Just last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that was inspired by Genny. The bill allows primary caregivers or parents the right to administer medical marijuana edibles to disabled or sick children at school, while at the same time, protecting schools from liability.
The new policy will now allow Genny to attend school full-time, although she will not transition into full-time immediately. For now, the teen will be going part-time as she works with a behaviorist to help her transition back into the classroom.
Under the new law, the school nurse will still not be able to administer the dose. So, Genny’s mother will have to bring her afternoon dose to her every day at school. They hope to change this rule as well, so that school nurses are able to administer dosages to MMJ patients. Many parents will be unable to go into the school on a daily basis to administer treatments.
In Genny’s case, she requires medical marijuana oil applications four times daily. If she misses a dose, she becomes incredibly agitated and sometimes engages in self-harm.
Genny’s family tested various other scheduled pharmaceuticals first, but none worked quite as effectively as medical marijuana oil. But the Maple Shade School District would not allow Genny to receive her afternoon dose, claiming it was illegal to do so. A New Jersey court agreed with the school. Although Gov. Christie passed a law that allows use of medical cannabis for health, Genny was unable to get the treatment she needed at the time she needed it most.
The Barbour family fought the court’s decision for six months, and lobbied for the bill. All of the family’s efforts paid off when the bill was finally signed into law.