Tuesday, 10 September 2013

N.J. Assembly Passes New Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana For Children

Gov. Christie Vetoed Earlier Bill, Demanded Revisions

The New Jersey State Assembly on Monday approved a major change to the state’s medical marijuana program, which could permit marijuana in edible form for children.
The vote also allowed dispensaries to grow and sell more than three varieties of pot to patients.

The measure was inspired by families who said their children with severe epilepsy would benefit from using certain types of marijuana.

Lawmakers passed a bill in June, but Gov. Chris Christie issued a conditional veto last month. Christie said he will approve the bill if it does not eliminate the requirement that at least two doctors sign off before children can have access to medical cannabis.
The governor wants to leave a requirement that a psychiatrist and pediatrician sign off in each case.

“As I have repeatedly noted, I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children,” Christie said in a statement. “Protection of our children remains my utmost concern, and my heart goes out to those children and their families who are suffering with serious illnesses.”

The debate on the issue came to a serious head last month, when Brian Wilson, the father of a 2-year-old who suffers from Dravet Syndrome — a potentially deadly form of epilepsy, confronted Christie on the issue.

“Don’t let my daughter die,” Wilson begged Christie.

He called his daughter’s condition “crucial.”

“We can’t wait a year to start treating Vivian. This is immediate, this is crucial, this is her life,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that additional delays brought on by the conditional veto mean that his family will have to move.

“We’re going to have to relocate to another state,” he said.

The state Senate previously accepted Christie’s revisions.