Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald on Wednesday called on Gov. Christie to act swiftly on legislation (A-4587) he has sponsored in order to ensure that students with debilitating illnesses who participate in the state’s medical marijuana program are not denied medicinal relief while at school or attending school functions.
Greenwald’s urging comes in the wake of a Tuesday court ruling that denied a Maple Shade teen access to medicinal marijuana oil while at school to help alleviate the debilitating seizures she suffers from due to epilepsy.
“We’re talking about some of the state’s most severely disabled students, some of whom suffer life threatening seizures and medical marijuana is the only thing that has helped ease their condition.
“The legislature overwhelmingly approved this bill a month and a half ago. With school about to start up again soon, the time to act is now. We should be working with these families, not hindering relief.
“For many of these students, medical marijuana has proven not only to alleviate pain but to quell the disruptive seizures that interfere with their studies. It’s our obligation to ensure that every child in this state has unencumbered access to an education. This change will lend more compassion to our program and help serve those who need it most,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington).
Greenwald’s legislation passed both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly in June and has languished on the governor’s desk since.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana law does not currently authorize the use of medical marijuana in schools or day programs serving developmentally disabled adults. In the absence of a state law on the subject, several school districts have specifically prohibited the use or administration of medical marijuana on school grounds.
In recent months, parents of students with severe seizure disorders have appealed this policy, arguing that it disrupts their children’s school attendance and could jeopardize their children’s overall health.
Greenwald’s bill, prompted by these cases, would authorize parents, guardians or primary caregivers, to administer medical marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or at a school sponsored activity, provided it is administered in a non-smokable form in a location designated by the school.