NJ Gov. vetoes MMJ bill easing access for kids, asks for changes


Two-year-old Vivian Wilson suffers from major siezures that could be helped by cannabis.

Update 3:20 p.m. 8-16-2013: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t care about suffering, sick children in his state. That’s the message sent to medical marijuana supporters today after the guv vetoed a bill and sent a bill easing minor access to medical cannabis back to the legislature for fixes.
Among his chief complaints: edibles should be accessible only to minors and children would still need two doctors to sign off before the children could access medical cannabis. Christie says he will sign the bill if those issues are addressed.

Apparently the governor didn’t do any research in the last two months since the bill was sent to his desk. Every medical marijuana patient could benefit from edibles, not just children. The other stipulation he made – that children also get a recommendation from a child psychologist for medical cannabis – is one of the biggest problems with the current law: child psychologists are very reluctant to sign on to medical marijuana recommendations.
“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. Today, I am making commonsense recommendations to this legislation to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards. I am calling on the Legislature to reconvene quickly and address these issues so that children in need can get the treatment they need.”
We think it’s a cop out from the governor and are appalled at his clearly ill-informed decision to continue the suffering of kids like Vivian Wilson.
Original item 9:20 a.m. 8-16-2013: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has said that he will make a decision on a bill that would ease access to medical cannabis to children under the age of 18 by today, but that isn’t soon enough for some parents.
“Please don’t let my daughter die, governor,” Brian Wilson, whose 2-year-old daughter suffers from a rare and severe form of epilepsy that cannabis has been shown to drastically help, asked Christie face-to-face yesterday at a campaign stop for Christie. “Don’t let my daughter die.”
The governor, clearly taken back, replied that it is a complicated issue that he needs to think through.

Gov. Chris Christie.

Wilson (and anyone with a brain and a heart) wholeheartedly disagreed:
“It’s simple. Very simple.”
Christie says he has been researching the issue and “has read everything in front of” him on the matter.
We call bullshit. If he had, he would have signed the bill by now. By the time Wilson had confronted Christie yesterday, his daughter had already had 30 seizures. Christie’s delay is literally punishing this girl by the hour.
But that isn’t what is holding him up at all. It’s the Republican’s potential national bid for presidency, according to Assemblywoman Linda Sterner, the Democrat lawmaker who wrote the bill. She says he’s reluctant to sign the bill because it might be seen as too liberal of a move by his party. Christie has said he won’t be running for president, but nobody is buying it.
“The problem is that what he’s really looking at is how this is polling in Iowa,” Sterner told CBS News New York.
For those that haven’t followed this, the bill would ease access for children by only requiring one doctor to sign off on medical cannabis instead of the current requirement of three doctors. It would also allow New Jersey dispensaries to begin cultivating and selling more than three types of cannabis. Many argue that the three strains available don’t contain enough valuable cannabinoids like CBD. Finally, the bill would allow dispensaries to sell cannabis in more forms than just smokeable flowers and lozenges.
No word on what time Christie is expected to make his decision, if he makes one at all. He could decide to simply not sign the bill and let it die by neglect – much like the children he’ll be ignoring.
The Wilsons have said that if Christie doesn’t sign the bill into law that they will have no choice but to move to Colorado where medical cannabis is more easily accessible for sick children. (Editor’s note: Colorado would be proud to have you call our state home if it means a better quality of life for your daughter.)
Check out video of the incident below from CBS News: