STATE – Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would give severely ill children easier access to medical marijuana.
“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,” Christie said in his statement vetoing the bill.
The governor wants to keep a requirement that both a pediatrician and a psychiatrist approve a minor’s access to medical marijuana. A third doctor’s recommendation would be needed if one of the others in not registered in the program. The original bill would allow minors to receive medical marijuana with only one letter, like adults.
The measure would also allow dispensaries to grow more than three strains of marijuana
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union), who sponsored the bill to help children like two-year old Vivian Wilson of Scotch Plains, expressed frustration at the governor’s decision. Wilson suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and medical marijuana is the only drug that provides relief. While she is cleared to receive the drug, New Jersey’s only currently-operating dispensary does not offer the strain she needs.
“It’s unfortunate that these families were forced to wait nearly two months while this legislation languished on the Governor’s desk and now he is prolonging their suffering by telling them they must wait even longer,” Stender said.
“Our number one priority is to provide relief from suffering for children like Vivian so we will take a close look at the Governor’s proposed changes to see if we can work with them to still accomplish that goal.”
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