Gov. Christie: ease medical marijuana rules for children - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Gov. Christie: ease medical marijuana rules for children

Posted: Updated:

ANGELA DELLI SANTI and GEOFF MULVIHILL

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie agreed Friday to give chronically ill children easier access to medical marijuana, but he was unwilling to go as far as state lawmakers wanted.

The Republican governor conditionally vetoed a bill on the topic.

He said he agreed with provisions that would allow production of ingestible forms of pot at state-approved dispensaries and to allow dispensaries to grow more than three strains of the drug, but he struck a part of the bill that would have dropped a requirement that a psychiatrist and pediatrician sign off before children are allowed medical marijuana.

The bill now goes back to the Legislature. If lawmakers make the changes Christie requested, it will become law. It was not immediately clear when lawmakers may take it up, but the state Senate does have a voting session scheduled for Monday.

Like the 19 other states that allow medical marijuana, New Jersey lets children use it. But unlike all but a few, the state law and regulations currently in place — considered perhaps the most stringent among states that allow medical pot at all — have additional hurdles for young patients.

They must have a pediatrician and psychiatrist sign off on their use. And if one of those doctors is not registered with the state medicinal cannabis program, they would need a third physician to recommend the drug.

The bill to ease access sparked a new round of debate between Christie and medical marijuana advocates, many of whom doubt that he wants the state's fledgling pot-for-patients program to succeed.

It attracted broader attention this week when parent John Wilson confronted the governor during a campaign stop in a diner. Wilson believes his 2-year-old daughter, Vivian, would benefit by using a certain form and strain of pot for Dravet syndrome, a rare and sometimes deadly form of epilepsy.

In a moment captured on video that made news shows and websites, Wilson told the governor, "Please don't let my daughter die."

Christie, who has raised concerns that it could be adults using pot recommended for their children, told him, "I know you think it's simple, but it's not," during their brief exchange.

Wilson and his wife, Meghan, who live in Scotch Plains, said in a statement Friday that they are disappointed Christie "decided to make it so difficult for parents, who are already enduring tremendous pain and heartache, to get approval for such a safe and simple medication."

They said it's not fair that other drugs can be prescribed for children without additional doctors signing off.

The changes Christie is willing to make could enable children like Vivian to get the form and strain of pot that could help them by lifting limits on how many strains of marijuana dispensaries can grow and by allowing ingestible forms that kids could take without smoking.

Currently, New Jersey allows dispensaries to grown only three strains of pot, and that has made it unlikely that the kind Vivian's family says she needs will be made available. John Wilson said other children with Dravet have benefited from a form high in a compound known as CBD and low in THC, the chemical that gets pot users high. Wilson said the drug can work not only to relieve pain or build up an appetite — two things medical pot is often used for — but as a medicine to treat Dravet.

New Hampshire, Delaware and Illinois have multiple-doctor requirements for kids to get pot, said Chris Goldstein, a marijuana activist who is on the board of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey.

"This is something that originated in New Jersey and is likely to be copied in other states," he said.

New Jersey now has just one operating legal dispensary with a second expected to open in September.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 teens

    NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:25:35 GMT
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
  • German Shepherd called to jury duty

    German Shepherd called to jury duty

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:16:16 GMT
    At least one prospective juror in New Jersey could take a bite out of crime. Cumberland County has summoned IV Griner to jury duty. The only problem is IV is a 5-year-old German Shepherd.
    At least one prospective juror in New Jersey could take a bite out of crime. Cumberland County has summoned IV Griner to jury duty. The only problem is IV is a 5-year-old German Shepherd.
  • Woman allegedly exposes genitals during heroin arrest

    Woman allegedly exposes genitals during heroin arrest

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-16 19:47:46 GMT
    A Barnegat woman tried to spit on police officers and repeatedly exposed her genitals during a heroin arrest.  Police say that Angela Woerner, 28, was in the parking lot of the CVS on West Bay Avenue. An officer saw her and knew that she had outstanding warrants out for her arrest.
    A Barnegat woman tried to spit on police officers and repeatedly exposed her genitals during a heroin arrest.  Police say that Angela Woerner, 28, was in the parking lot of the CVS on West Bay Avenue. An officer saw her and knew that she had outstanding warrants out for her arrest.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices