Don’t Let My Daughter Die, Governor Christie

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“It’s surreal,” says Brian Wilson. “We’re on vacation at the Jersey Shore, but today at our vacation rental there was an ABC News press van, we were live on The Lead with Jake Tapper, and I prerecorded an interview with Anderson Cooper.”

Wilson is the father of 2-year-old Vivian Wilson, who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of pediatric epilepsy.

The Wilsons were thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when they went public with their struggle to access a specialized strain of medical marijuana for their daughter.

Media interest in the Wilsons’ story has recently expanded from local to national, spurred by Sanjay Gupta’s CNN Weed special last week, which featured a Colorado girl who is being successfully treated with the same type of marijuana the Wilsons are seeking for Vivian.

Added to the mix was a heated debate between Brian Wilson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during Christie’s visit to the Wilson’s hometown of Scotch Plains Wednesday.

From Brian Wilson's Facebook page: "He won't look me in the eye."

From Brian Wilson’s Facebook page: “He won’t look me in the eye.”

The Wilsons had tried repeatedly to arrange a meeting with the governor to discuss New Jersey Senate Bill 2842, which was inspired by Vivian’s story. The bill provides easier access to medical marijuana for minors, removes the current three strain limit for New Jersey dispensaries, and allows for sales of edible products. It passed the Senate and Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan votes, and has awaited the Governor’s signature since June 24.

Christie’s Scotch Plains visit finally provided Brian Wilson with the opportunity to meet him face to face.

“I was wondering what the holdup is?” Wilson asked Christie. “It’s been like two months now.”

“Sir, it’s a complicated issue,” responded Christie.

News cameras captured Brian Wilson telling Christie, “It’s a simple issue. Please don’t let my daughter die, Governor.”

Christie responded that he would have an answer by the end of the week.

But regardless of whether the Governor signs the bill, vetoes it, or compromises with a conditional veto, the Wilsons are planning to move to Colorado this fall, because they believe the fight for edible CBD medicine in New Jersey is far from over.

“First, the bill will have to go through the Department of Health’s regulations process,” explains Brian. “Next, a dispensary that’s interested will have to get one of the CBD strains. Then they will have to learn how to grow and manage it. Then they have to figure out how to make an extract. Then it has to get tested. Then it has to get approved by the health department.”

“There’s going to be a lot of trial and error in all the steps along the way,” adds Meghan. “Best case scenario in New Jersey, it will be at least a year before Vivian gets her medicine. And Vivian needs her medicine yesterday.”

Today, the Wilson family will go to the beach and try to enjoy the last day of their vacation while they await Christie’s decision. Although they are leaving New Jersey soon, the Wilsons are hopeful that other patients will benefit from their efforts.

“I can be proud of everything we did in New Jersey to advance the law,” says Meghan.

“We’ll keep an eye on New Jersey,” adds Brian. “When the law is implemented and CBD strains are readily available, perhaps we can move back.”