New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Bill
New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie may be gunning for the Republican presidential nomination, but a little thing like that didn’t stop him from sparing some time to sign the state’s hotly anticipated Assembly Bill No. 4587 that now allows medical marijuana to be administered to those residing in care facilities and/or attending schools with developmental disabilities and one or more of the state approved health conditions.
The bill’s coverage of smokeless medical marijuana treatments will enable students and care facility residents to have their prescribed doses of medical marijuana administered by a parent in a private setting without the worry of any legal repercussions. In return, state institutions will require those prescribed medical marijuana to provide the proper identification that was received upon registering with the state’s program.
All New Jersey school districts are required to comply with the new guidelines and will have to rewrite current policies branding campuses as “drug free zones.” The new policies must state that students are now able to receive medical marijuana treatments “on school grounds, aboard a school bus or attending a school sponsored event,” according to the a public copy of the bill.
The groundwork for the medical marijuana bill was laid by the parents of 16 year-old Ginny Barbour after their request to allow her to receive cannabis oil treatments at school to help with her epilepsy and autism were denied by her school. Genny has only been able to attend half days at the Larc School in Bellmawr, New Jersey since last spring in order to maintain her treatment schedule due to their policy.
Genny’s father, Roger Barbour, said “She’s been prescribed five doses a day, so we can’t fit it into the window they are offering. I understand that they’re trying to keep her in school or at least make it look like they’re offering us something reasonable, but it’s not. It’s still making us choose between the medicine or the education.”
Understandably, Genny’s parents weren’t content to sacrifice the health and well-being of their daughter, so a legal fight soon became their only option. The Barbour’s and the Maple Shade School District have spent many months battling it out in New Jersey courtrooms, which has only resulted in settlement offers and appeals being filed. That’s all about to change now that there is a solid bill in place making it mandatory for the Larc School to ensuring that Genny is able to receive her treatment at during the day if it is administered by her mother, Lora. The family still intends to continue to work towards a solution that will enable a school nurse to give Genny her cannabis oil rather than requiring Lora to travel to the school each afternoon to stay on the five dose a day treatment schedule.
The best news to come from all of this is the fact that Genny will soon be able to return to school full time now that her medical needs will be met fully and she’s granted the same opportunities as every other student.
New School Policy
Despite the legal dispute that brought about the required changes to their stance on medical marijuana, the Larc School acted quickly to implement the new policy as outlined in the bill, making them the first school in the United States to have any such policy in place.
“Clearly this has been in discussion for quite a while and we are happy to accommodate and certainly want to help our families,” said the Larc School’s executive director, Susan Weiner. “We were hoping (Christie) would sign this and we have been preparing for this to happen. We’re thrilled we have been able to reach this point. We’re about helping children. I know there are so many kids in this state and across the country who benefit from this. We’re grateful that our legislators it’s a sincere need that helps students, because we do see a difference.”
“Although on paper it may have seemed that way, I never felt that contentiousness with the family in person. We want the best best for Genny. We were not able to do it legally. We are pleased we are able to help the family,” she continued.