Epileptic Teen Denied Cannabis Oil at School

Genny Barbour, 16, suffers from both autism and epilepsy. She attends a half-day at school and can only stay until her cannabis oil wears off.

She takes legal cannabis oil which is most effective against her seizures. Genny’s school still refuses to allow her to take the oil which she needs constantly. Federal law mandates that schools are drug-free zones with zero tolerance.

New Jersey legalised medical marijuana in 2010 including the application of cannabis for seizure disorders. In addition, cannabis is known to help autism. New Jersey’s medical marijuana law has been criticized for its restrictive policies including no home cultivation and only six state-licensed dispensaries in the entire state.

Barbour of Maple Shade, New Jersey, had resorted to medical cannabis after many drugs failed. Even after brain surgery, she showed no positive results and the seizures kept coming. Finally, after taking cannabis oil, Genny became seizure-free.

“I can’t tell you how many times she’s had such a hard seizure that I’ve prayed to God, ‘Dear Lord Jesus Christ, please do not take my daughter today,’ thinking she’s going to expire right in front of me,” Genny’s father Roger Barbour told the Courier-Post. “We hear thuds in our house and we all go running,” Lora Barbour added. “A thud in our house means Genny went down.”

Genny need the cannabis oil four times periodically throughout the day. She was prescribed by her doctor to take cannabis oil during the day while she is at school.

Even a few hours off of medical cannabis caused problems for Genny. “She has to get (the next dose) before the school day ends. The school’s refusing to let her have that little bit of oil at school… there were horrible behaviours in the afternoon and more seizures,” her father added. “They were locking her in a restraint chair. She was throwing tantrums, biting herself, giving herself bruises…the doctor, along with us, came to the conclusion that it (medical marijuana) was wearing off.”

Genny’s family recently told Fox 29 “[Genny’s Medical cannabis] is just as essential as pencil and paper, but not everyone agrees.” Federal law enforces heavily penalties for the use of drugs in a drug-free zone. The family asked the Office of Special Education (part of the Department of Education) to grant Genny access, to no avail. The Barbours were then again denied relief from the Office of Administrative Law. Even the compromise to take her off premises and return her to school was rejected. The Barbours haven’t given up however, and are appealing that decision.

Genny’s need for medical cannabis is so apparent that the Barbours have decided to have her attend half-days at school. Genny has the complete potential to attend full days at school if she is medicated on cannabis. Is this really the outcome we want from our drug laws?