Parents Continue to Fight For Daughter’s Use of Medical Marijuana

NJ Spotlight News | August 31, 2015 | Health Care
A family continues to fight for the right to administer medical marijuana to their 16-year-old autistic daughter.

By Michael Hill

Lora and Roger Barbour are waging another battle after a state judge said no to having the Larc school nurse give Genny her mid-day dose of medical marijuana oil.

“Other children, they get their medicine if it’s lawful. But, Genny can not get her medicine and it’s lawful,” said Roger.

The judge agreed with the Larc school for students with disabilities and the Maple Shade Board of Education that federal law still considers marijuana a dangerous drug, that the school nurse is not registered to give Genny “cannabis oil” under the state’s 5-year-old Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act or CUMMA and that for the nurse to have or give the drug would violate the Drug-Free School Zone law.

“Which I think is ridiculous any way because under the CUMMA, I can go on to a school property with oil, not smoke, it has to be an edible, not a smokable marijuana and I can administer her medicine so this really shouldn’t even be a question actually,” said Lora.

The judge agreed. He wrote under CUMMA “(Lora Barbour) has the ability to assert an affirmative defense against charges of possession or distribution of medical marijuana to (Genny) even on school grounds. This issue, however, is not before this tribunal.”

“We filed a second petition to put that question before him,” said Roger.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get back in school in September and I’ll be able, instead of taking her out for half a days and bring her home for the medicine, that’s our goal. That’s what our goal is, to get into court, get that done so that I can administer the medicine at school,” said Lora.

But, Larc and the school board still say they won’t allow Lora to bring cannabis oil to campus and give it to Genny. So, the Barbours are filing a series of appeals and asking the ACLU for help.

The Barbours say they credit medical marijuana for Genny’s increased ability to learn, better behavior and eliminating her seizures. So, as recommended, they give four doses a day to their 16-year-old autistic daughter with severe epilepsy.

“It’s the best medicine she’s ever had,” Lora said.

In June, state lawmakers approved a bill to allow CUMMA registered parents, guardians and primary care givers to give medical marijuana to registered patients with developmental disabilities on school grounds. It’s on the governor’s desk.

“Gov. Christie goes around Iowa campaigning saying he’s for medical marijuana and especially for children, but he does nothing about the bill that’s been sitting on his desk since June,” Roger said.

“I believe medical marijuana is a very slippery slope. It is the obvious intent of the people who are promoting that to have their next step to be recreational marijuana,” said Sen. Gerald Cardinale.

Cardinale voted against the bill. He’s a dentist who says he believes medical marijuana has some benefits but he urges the Barbours to find another way to control Genny’s seizures as he offers this old saying.

“Tough cases make bad law and certainly that’s a tough case. Certainly your heart goes out to someone who is having problems,” Cardinale said.

“Our daughter has gone the gamut for 16 years. She’s had seizures. There hasn’t been one week that she hasn’t been seizure free except for the medical marijuana. She’s been on every drug that you can put on the market, some that you have to sign waivers because they can damage the liver. She’s had brain surgery. She’s done special diets,” said Lora.

The Barbours say they know they’re fighting against doubt, reluctance and ignorance of a plant’s benefit to severe conditions and that this is as much an educational battle as it is a legal one and one they must keep waging.

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