Gov. Chris Christie Signs Law Allowing Limited Use of Medical Marijuana in Schools

Marijuana laws in New Jersey are changing in the face of growing evidence that marijuana is an effective treatment option for certain individuals suffering from illnesses.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie recently signed into law a bill that will allow special education students in New Jersey to use medical marijuana oil while they are in school. As set forth by the law, New Jersey schools will be required to give certain students with developmental disabilities access to medical marijuana on school grounds, including school buildings and school buses. The marijuana can be administered by parents, guardians or primary caregivers.

The bill, codified in A-4587/S-3049, was reportedly inspired by a young girl from Maple Shade, NJ. The teenager, Genny Barbour, suffers from serious medical disorders, including autism and epilepsy. Barbour attends the Larc School in Bellmawr, which has previously refused to allow the school’s nurse to administer cannabis oil to the sick 16-year-old student.

The legislative action was necessary because the legal system did come to the aid of Barbour. NJ courts previously ruled that the school nurse could not provide medical marijuana to Barbour because doing so would violate New Jersey law. This meant that Barbour had to take time off from school each day to go home and get her necessary medical treatments.

Louis Greenwald, the bill’s co-sponsor in the NJ State Assembly, said the new law was needed so that “severely disabled students,” like Barbour, who are dealing with life-threatening seizures and other illnesses, can more easily receive the medication that might ease their painful conditions.

The bill was sponsored by NJ Democrats, but it had bipartisan support. And in the end, Gov. Christie signed the legislation and made it the official law of the land in New Jersey.

Although opponents of the medical pot law worry that it might be a slippery slope to legalization of marijuana throughout New Jersey, the drafters of the legislation anticipated these concerns. That’s why the law is limited in application. For example, schools will be able to determine the exact locations where medicinal marijuana can be administered. Additionally, the drug can only be administered in a non-smokable form, meaning that the law does not allow individuals to smoke medical marijuana in any place that prohibits the smoking of cigarettes.

While some states now legalize marijuana use, New Jersey still prohibits marijuana possession and/or use in most instances. And, there are many opinions on the pot debate overall. If you are having trouble with your school district as it relates to this new law, contact a lawyer who will fight for your child’s rights.

If your child is being denied their legal right to benefit from medical marijuana on school grounds, the experienced special education lawyers at Posternock Apell, PC can help. Contact us today for a free phone consultation about your case.