Gov. Christie: ease medical marijuana rules for children - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

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>>

  • Montclair-Boonton trains face delays

    Montclair-Boonton trains face delays

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:20 AM EDT2014-08-20 10:20:21 GMT
    Workers continue making repairs after a New Jersey Transit train derailed on the Montclair-Boonton line.
    Workers continue making repairs after a New Jersey Transit train derailed on the Montclair-Boonton line. NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder says passengers on that line are facing delays of up to 20 minutes in both directions on Wednesday because the railroad can only use one track. The train derailed between the Bay Street and Walnut Street stations in Montclair on Tuesday afternoon. No one was injury and passengers were safely transferred from the train.
  • Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:49:34 GMT
    Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyGov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
  • Reward in probe of shooting of bald eagle in NJ

    Reward in probe of shooting of bald eagle in NJ

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:32:30 GMT
    Federal, state, and humane organizations are offering $7,500 in rewards in the case of the shooting of bald eagle in New Jersey. Someone shot a bald eagle in in Bridgeton City Park back in May, authorities said. The badly wounded bird was found May 20, 2014. Its wounds were so severe that it had to be was euthanized.
    Federal, state, and humane organizations are offering $7,500 in rewards in the case of the shooting of bald eagle in New Jersey. Someone shot a bald eagle in in Bridgeton City Park back in May, authorities said. The badly wounded bird was found May 20, 2014. Its wounds were so severe that it had to be was euthanized.
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

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