Christie sends medical pot bill back to N.J. Legislature

Aug. 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

TRENTON, N.J., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday he approved of a bill making medical marijuana more available for minors but sent it back to the Legislature.

The bill, which would make medical marijuana treatment more accessible for severely ill children, would allow cultivators to grow more than three strains of marijuana and would allow for the sale of medical pot in edible form, provisions Christie said he would agree to, NJ.com reported.

Christie rejected a provision limiting the number of doctors who can get involved in treatment of children with medical marijuana, citing "the need for children to benefit from additional specialized review."

"I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children," Christie said, as he called on the Legislature to take quick action to revise the bill, "to ensure sick children receive the treatment their parents prefer, while maintaining appropriate safeguards."

The bill was developed in large part in response to the case of 2-year-old Vivian Wilson, who has been diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a potentially fatal form of epilepsy. A relatively rare strain of marijuana developed in Colorado has been shown to help reduce symptoms of the syndrome in other children, NJ.com said.

Her father, Brian Wilson, said he and his wife, Megan, are confident the Legislature will make the changes Christie requested but he said he is "disappointed that the governor 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."

The medical marijuana bill came about after the Wilson family organized a letter-writing campaign.

New Jersey already has a medical marijuana law, enacted under former Gov. Jon Corzine.

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