Mixed Praise for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Conditional Veto

Share this with your friends

PHOTO: Meghan Wilson and her two-year-old daughter Vivian Wilson, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome. Marijuana has been proven to alleviate the devastating damage caused by the seizures Vivian suffers.

On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a surprising decision in his conditional veto of S2842, a bill intended to ease medical marijuana restrictions for children.

The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Linda Stender earlier this year, sought to lift New Jersey’s ban on edible cannabis, eliminate the three-strain limit for dispensaries, and allow minors to get medical marijuana cards with the recommendation of a single doctor rather than three.

Politicians and activists alike had predicted a conditional veto, and as expected, Christie struck the provision for a single prescribing doctor.

But the other part of Christie’s veto – amending the bill to allow edibles only for minors and not for adults – was met with shock and disbelief from advocates.

“Restricting oral preparations of medicinal cannabis to pediatric patients only is irrational,” said Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a leader in the field of medical cannabis research. “Adult patients will have to make oral preparations themselves with the limited amount of herbal medicinal cannabis they are allowed to procure from New Jersey dispensaries.”

According to Josh Stanley of Realm of Caring, whose “Charlotte’s Web” strain of medical cannabis is being used successfully to treat epileptic children in Colorado, the two ounces of dried cannabis allowed per month for New Jersey patients is far less than the amount needed to make oil to control seizures in adults.

Meghan Wilson, the mother of the 2-year-old epilepsy patient who inspired the bill, had limited praise for Christie’s decision.

“I do not consider this a victory,” said Wilson, “But it is a step in the right direction.”

“One of the newspaper headlines I read said ‘mixed praise’ and I think that’s a good way to say it,” said Jennie Stormes, the mother of 14-year-old epilepsy patient Jackson Stormes.

While Stormes praised the Governor’s support for removing the three-strain limit, she is disappointed that Christie’s amendment means her son will no longer be able to access the oil recommended for his condition when he turns 18.