In a precedent-setting case, a state judge ruled this month that the mother of a New Jersey teenager with epilepsy, who is also her legal medical caregiver, cannot go to her school to administer her daughter’s cannabis oil.
The oil treatments, which are legal in the state, control the young girl’s seizures and allow her to function normally in school, according to her parents.
In its opinion, the court reasoned that state and federal laws prohibiting drug possession on school grounds takes precedence over the students’ right to use medical cannabis derivatives. This ruling is in spite of the fact that New Jersey has already legalized cannabis for medical use.
This court setback is the third such defeat for the Barbour family, who have vowed to continue appealing. According to legal experts, this case is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.
Administrative Law Judge, John S. Kennedy ruled in January and again on appeal in August that the Larc School and the Maple Shade school district are stuck in a legal quandary. If allowed to administer the drug, the school nurse would be violating state laws, which ban the use of drugs in school zones and federal law that deems pot possession a crime.
According to a report by NJ.com:
Roger and Lora Barbour have sued to require the nurse at their 16-year-old daughter’s special education school in Bellmawr administer cannabis oil, just like the nurse dispenses prescribed medication to other students. Since April, Genny has attended only half-days of school so she can be home for her lunchtime dose of homemade oil, diluted in a small glass of cola.
In his 11-page ruling, the judge wrote that the family failed to show that their daughter would suffer “irreparable harm” if she were denied her medicine during the school day.
In the latest setback last week, Kennedy denied an emergency motion, which sought to allow Genny’s mother, her registered caregiver, to come to school daily to administer the oil.
Roger Barbour, Genny’s attorney, and father, thought the family had a good possibility of winning the case due to Kennedy’s ruling in August. The ruling stated that Genny’s mother should be allowed to administer the oil herself.
In that August 10 decision, Kennedy wrote that as Genny’s registered caregiver, under New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, Lora Barbour “has the ability to assert an affirmative defense against charges of possession or distribution of medical marijuana… even on school grounds.”
After that ruling, Barbour notified the school in writing that Lora Barbour would be there over lunchtime on August 17 to administer the cannabis oil.
“The Larc School remains bound by the existing laws of this state, including but not limited to the Drug Free School Zone Act and the current version of the N.J. Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act,” Larc School attorney Aileen Droughton wrote in a response.
“As such, please be advised that no medical marijuana will be administered on The Larc School grounds by any individual.”
After the emergency request was denied, Roger Barbour said he would appeal the decision.
“The judge got it wrong,” Roger Barbour said, arguing that the state medical marijuana provides “exceptions if you have a license.”
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews, TheFreeThoughtProject.com and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.