N.J. Gov. Chris Christie agreed Friday to ease access to medical marijuana for chronically ill children. The governor offered provisions to a bill allowing marijuana cultivators to produce more than three strains of the drug and for state-approved dispensaries to sell ingestible forms of pot for children to consume.
According to Christie's tweaks in the bill:
"Qualified minors should be allowed access to products in appropriate edible forms to ensure that children can receive treatments consistent with their age and medical needs, as well as the individual preferences of their guardians.
As I have repeatedly noted, I believe that parents, and not government regulators, are best suited to decide how to care for their children."
He conditionally vetoed an existing bill, leaving one provision which requires referrals from a pediatrician as well as from a psychiatrist. A third doctor's approval is required if the pediatrician is unregistered with the medical marijuana program.
Brian Wilson, a New Jersey dad, had confronted Christie about the state's bill which had made it difficult for him to treat his two-year-old daughter Vivian's rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.
Wilson was not happy with Christie's conditional veto. He told CNN's Jake Trapper:
"Everyone expected a conditional veto, but this is kind of even lower than the worst-case conditional veto that we thought. So while it is a small victory, he kind of put himself all over it and really just maintains the idea of making one of the worst medical marijuana programs in the country and one of the most unsafe medical marijuana programs in the country.
The psychiatrist is a roadblock. You're talking about sick kids who aren't even necessarily capable of talking.
To keep that in is just telling parents who are suffering with these horrible diseases with children, 'I'm going to make it more difficult for you to get treatment for your child.'"
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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